In May of 2020, the Carrollwood Cultural Center invited members of the Joy-Based Living community to create a Joy-Based art exhibition in conjunction with their October 2020 exhibition focused on stopping Sex Trafficking. In our Courage to Connect: Networking for Joy gallery, we provided a space for visitors to experience hope and reflection within that context.


Joy-Based Living, Bridging the gap between trauma and joy

In 2016 a small group of mostly women began a quest to increase joy in their lives and in the world. On their journey they were surprised to discover that many of them were coping with the effects of Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD, and Complex PTSD). Each person in the group was committed to personal growth and moving from trauma to thriving. So, they started a program of healing through emotional literacy using both words and art. Along the way, they found friendship, agency, full self-expression, and joy!

Debbie Happy Cohen

Joy-Based Living was founded by Debbie Happy Cohen. Debbie is a personal development coach, author, and multi-media artist. Debbie has a Master’s Degree in counseling, specializing in healing emotional trauma, and practical spirituality. She offers deep insight into leadership, parenting and the power of authentic networking.

“There is a bridge between you and anything. It is love.” This quote, by Hafiz is Debbie’s favorite. She loves uniting people with the joy that is readily accessible, right here and now, and is always in awe of how rapidly joy spreads. Joy is her favorite medium, and people are her favorite canvases. She loves showing people how to stand for joy.

Debbie is affectionately known as Happy D!, and even though she is Jewish, her favorite nickname is Reverend SASSY SHORTS! She lives on Lookout Mountain in Alabama, near Chattanooga, and is the author of Reach Your Stars!, SANCTUARY, It’s All About Kids: Every Child Deserves a Teacher of the Year, and I Don’t Think So!.

Wholehearted Networking

Debbie’s latest project, Wholehearted Networking, shows people how to take healthy, self-interested action, which is essential for their ability to shift from surviving to thriving, especially if they have a tendency to over-give their Time, Energy and Attention to others. She encourages people to use their T.E.A. time to focus on developing their S.P.A. (Sovereignty, Power and Agency).

As adults, it’s rare that we are asked, “What’s most important to you? What’s your vision for your life? What do you need in order to thrive? What kind of support do you need?” These kinds of questions help us to be true to ourselves, and to our souls. They invite us to self-champion ourselves, and help us move from surviving and into thriving.

Wholehearted Networking is focused on increasing the quality and quantity of meaningful conversations. Debbie hosts live stream discussions on the gap between trauma and joy, featuring daily wisdom and a series of self-reflection questions.

The JBL Trifecta for Meaningful Conversations © 2020

The best networking happens among people who know and like each other. Healing and thriving naturally occur among people who can hold space for each other in 3 subject areas: trauma, joy and spirituality. This takes deliberate effort! At JBL, we are so lucky to have others who can relate to us and who are eager to learn together to transform our lives for the better! Our wholehearted relationships have offered us essential time to feel seen and heard. This is how we have expanded our ability to love and be loved. Now, we want to pass the torch to YOU!

Find us at | Daily Livestreams at