February 14, 2014 By Susun Weed
Joanna was born high up in the Swiss mountains on a snowy January evening. She grew up in Paris and speaks 5 languages. School was boring but her curiosity about life was not extinguished by the dullness of the education system. Nature was her teacher, trees, horses, dogs and the ocean gave her a sense of belonging that she did not feel within her birth family.
In 1968 moved by the music of the times and the spirit of revolution sweeping through her generation she emigrated to the United States. Her exploration of mind liberating substances led her to find Dr. Timothy Leary who was a fugitive from prison in the US. They became in love and were kidnapped by American authorities in Afghanistan and returned to California where Timothy Leary went back to prison to serve a sentence of possession of 00.1 grams of marijuana. During TL’s three and a half years in prison Joanna worked tirelessly to secure his release, she lived in San Francisco where she collaborated, published and distributed the 6 books he wrote in prison. In addition, Joanna traveled to England, Italy and across the United states lecturing about the imprisonment of Dr. Leary.
In 1977 Timothy and Joanna’s love affair came to an end after he was released from prison. She then went down to the Caribbean and bough a magnificent wooden sail boat named Kentra. For several years she lived on her boat and sailed around the islands attempting to heal her broken heart. In 1983 she returned to the United States, surrendered herself into the path of life long sobriety and became a celebrated chef in Philadelphia and Santa Fe.
She practices Buddhism and the elusive way of loving kindness and compassion mainly for herself and for others around her. Joanna’s great question in life is “What is true Kindness?”
In the last 20 years she has written two unpublished autobiographies and many poems.
Creating the podcast website futureprimitive.org has been a deep pleasure that makes her feel creative and useful.
Joanna has three amazing children.
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Tim Leary: 'Tripping the Bardo' with Joanna Harcourt Smith