In today’s Author Hour episode, I sit down with author, Jax Golding to discuss her new book, Never Alone: Waking Up to Self-Love, Gratitude and the Whisper of the Infinite. Here’s a brief description of the book. What if you had always felt alone all your life? Maybe you had parents, maybe you had a home, maybe even a family and kids but still, what if you never felt like enough until you truly woke up, until you accepted how broken you were?

Never Alone follows the thought-provoking journey of Jax Golding, a twice-divorced mom, accomplished journalist, gallery owner, and life coach. By all accounts, she was successful and happy until she wasn’t. As she looks back on the various stages of her life, rifling through old pain, disappointments, and transactional relationships, an ordinary woman discovers extraordinary grace, realizing that spirit has propelled her every step of the way. 

Here’s my conversation with Jax Golding.

Welcome into Author Hour. I’m your host Benji Block. Today, I’m excited to have Jax Golding with me, who just authored a new book titled Never Alone: Waking Up to Self-Love, Gratitude and the Whisper of the Infinite. Fantastic title there. So Jax, welcome in, and excited to chat with you about this.

Jax Golding: Thanks Benji, thrilled to be here.

Benji Block: Yeah, it’s going to be so fantastic, and I have to commend you for something because this is actually your fourth attempt at writing a book, and actually, you say that it’s your second attempt at this one, so, I want to start right there. I mean, you call it divine timing, explain that to me. Why was this the time for this book to finally get out of you onto paper and into the world?

Now Is The Time

Jax Golding: Well, the interesting thing is — oh God, my writing attempt at books is like my attempt at marriages, isn’t it? Okay, divine timing. The interesting thing is I started writing this book but it had a completely different flavor and theme and then, I was basically just pummeled to the ground further in despair and started rewriting this book and it was so cathartic and so different. I really felt spirit moving through me as I was writing because it was like a release and it was me being truly authentic and honest.

Benji Block: I love that. This book reads as almost like part journal and I mean, it’s obviously, it’s very memoir so I really appreciate the vulnerability and the way that you share this and letting us get an up close – yeah, getting up close.

Jax Golding: Well thanks, Benji. A quick gossip with a friend, isn’t it? But it’s just I’m spilling the tea on me. I’m not gossiping at all. 

Benji Block: Which is better than gossiping, so thank you for not spilling the tea on others and just on yourself. All right, when you’re writing this, obviously, it’s cathartic for you as you mentioned but who are you writing it for? Who do you think this book is best suited for as far as they should pick it up and they should read it?

Jax Golding: Well, I think it appeals to any age group, frankly. You know, you can be in your 20s and you can be in your 70s, 80s and this book can appeal to you and I’ll tell you why because we all have those moments in life where we feel in despair, where we feel broken, where we feel abandoned, male or female, you know? There’s always hope and I found hope and I found grace and that is what propelled me to want to share this book even though it’s scary. 

I mean, I’m scared shitless to release this book, I’ll tell you that, because it really is exposing me and all the pain I’ve endured and you know, all my issues with family and ex-husbands but the most important thing is that it was a journey and I wouldn’t change one thing because the growth and the shadow work I got to do through it, I’ve learned so much about myself and it’s for someone that needs hope. 

Someone that wants to know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Someone that lost their way in life and you know, they have or they have the white picket fence and they still feel empty. That’s who I’m appealing to.

Benji Block: Which in one form or another, I feel like it hits all of us at a certain point. 

Jax Golding: Exactly.

Benji Block: That’s just that life has its way. So I was trying to figure out, man, where do I want to start with Jax as far as diving into the book? I have this quote from the book that I thought was a great place to start as far as just setting the scene and you say that the wakeup experience you had a few months into the pandemic shifted your understanding of yourself and reality and it helped you accept and move on from what you were just alluding to, from past perceived failures and into freedom. 

You go on to share just details of your life. So obviously, we want to talk about your healing, we want to talk about the wakeup experience but I feel like we have to rewind the clock and give some context. So I want to go all the way back to you, your childhood, you’re growing up in Cape Town, just tell me who are you growing up, Jax, and some of what you were like in those early years?

Jax Golding: Okay, you know, I had wonderful parents. I was the youngest of three children and my oldest brother was 11 years older than me, then I had a sister, nine years older than me and then came little old me, you know? I was born on the Cape Flats, she’s a large area in Cape Town where people were really moved — people of color, we were moved there during the Group Areas Act. So during apartheid in people were separated, you know, that was the area that we were told we could live in.

I went to segregated schools until that changed kind of in the late 80s. I was in a class of 45 kids, that was a normal thing. My parents were lower-middle-class parents and when I went to high school, I started high school in 1985 when the boycotting started in the country and then ended high school in 1989, when there was further unrest in the country as we were fighting for the unburning of the NC and obviously, the release of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

Benji Block: Wow, what a time to be young.

Jax Golding: So, I had an interesting teen-filled years.

Benji Block: That’s fascinating. You had mentioned — and obviously, this is all part of that but in primary school, well actually, by primary school, you realized there was parts of you that were accepted and there was parts that weren’t. Some of that is skin color but what were some of those other things in those formative years that you’re learning, “Oh man, I kind of you know, this is accepted and loved and maybe this part I should hide or I’m not accepted for.”

Jax Golding: You know Benji, I was conditioned to believe that if I was good and good encompassed being good at school, performing well academically, getting those accolades that I’ll be noticed and I could see I was noticed when I did well. So I got the preverbal pat on the head, you know, the “well done” and that is what kind of formed my opinions on how I should navigate through life. 

Perform, that’s what I did and I did it well, you know? I could perform well academically, I could perform in relationships as long as I was acknowledged and seen.

Benji Block: How does performance then translate into your young adulthood and that become like a maybe a theme for you in your life?

Jax Golding: I suppose in my young adulthood, it was always being the nurturer. Someone had a problem, it came to me, we try and fix it. I’ll be the shoulder to cry on, you know, the ear you could bend. I was always that person that you try and offer advice and solution and that fed my ego without me even knowing it because I felt valued then.

Benji Block: Yeah, you found your importance there.

Jax Golding: That I was needed, yeah, and I suppose that carried well into adulthood as well and also, my conditioning as a child from family members was really based on the accolades I received academically as supposed to me being recognized for me.

Benji Block: What is that relationship with your parents like, I know you said, you know, great parents but you just feel like that was part of how you, you know, I mean, clearly our relationship with our parents are extremely forming.

Jax Golding: Right. I think, listen, my parents, my dad was very loving but he had his own issues, you know? He had his own demons that he was fighting. My mom was really good at doing the right thing in terms of making sure you were presentable, you were well-mannered but she too, you know, had her own demons that she was dealing with. So in terms of a family unit, I felt safe within my family and I felt loved but that didn’t necessarily mean I could be me. 

Although, they encouraged me in certain areas of my life, certainly during my teen years when I wanted to attend political rallies, you know, they allowed me that because they believed in the cause but in other ways, you know, they were very controlling on how I should present myself to the world. 

Benji Block: I love how you broke that down, that’s an amazing way of saying that like, they’re loving but they’re battling their own demons and like, they have their own context, right? It’s something that we all grow into in adulthood is the realization of how human our parents are.

Jax Golding: Absolutely and this was the thing about the book. Like I said to you, you know, it was divine timing the way the spirit moved through me and the way I wrote the book because originally, I was writing from an angry place. I was writing from a, “How could this have happened to me, I had carefully orchestrated my life and I shouldn’t be at this point” you know, with everything falling apart in my mid-40s. 

Whereas the book that you know, I have now, Never Alone, I accept and I’m so grateful that I’m able to see all those challenges and all those perceived failures as blessings. I know it sounds cliché but it truly is blessings that have allowed me to grow so much and allowed me to be grateful for everything that’s happened in my life. All my experiences with my family, my parents, my siblings, my lovers, my haters, you know, it doesn’t matter. It’s a part of life.

Managing Codependency and Broadening The Understanding of Spirituality

Benji Block: It is part of life. Part of your journey has been wanting you mentioned it there but essentially, you chose some emotionally unavailable men as you described. What were the patterns that you can now see in hindsight, in those relationships?

Jax Golding: Codependency.

Benji Block: Yup, that’s the big one I wanted to touch on for sure. I want to pick your brain on codependency in a second but I’ll let you keep describing this.

Jax Golding: I think for me Benji, the men that I attracted, and certainly married, were mere mirror reflections of who I was at the time and this may be a bitter pill to swallow and accept but you have choice. You have freewill. This is the blessing you’ve given by source to make choices for yourself and for your life and I chose men that merit my inner turmoil. 

So the first husband, although cerebral was just emotionally as unavailable as I was without me even knowing it at the time because the energy that I was projecting at the time was one of neediness and the needier you are, the more you repel the other person to withdraw more and more away from you and I was madly in love in both instances, you know? 

I’m blessed with beautiful children and I wouldn’t change a god damn thing, not a single thing, Benji, for all the tears and all the sobbing, I have to accept that the choices I made were lessons in the making.

Benji Block: So, you bring up this theme of codependency and you can see it now in hindsight, I always think of codependency as something that maybe, you know, you’re not aware of but everyone should do research on.

Jax Golding: Absolutely.

Benji Block: I’ve read it and one of my favorite books on codependency is called, Codependent No More. It’s kind of be 20, 25 years old at this point but it’s fantastic, a deep dive into codependency and even that as a word or as a descriptor is relatively new in our lexicon, in our awareness, but break down some of how you saw codependency playing out because I think this is crucial for everyone in a relationship to understand.

Jax Golding: You know, codependency is really the inability to self-soothe. That’s how I understand it, how I internalize it. If I had the ability to breathe and in a relaxed state, learn how to self-soothe at a really young age, you know, in my teen years or in my 20s, I would have made better choices moving forward in relationships because my codependency stemmed from me, wanting to be with people that needed me so that I could try and nurture them. 

My mother was a nurturer, try and fix them, or try and dominate them. My father was quite domineering. So it was always that battle between being the fixer and then being the strong one and so my masculinity and femininity, the duality within myself was very imbalanced and for me, codependency is when this imbalance is within yourself. 

So I attracted what I needed at the time became codependent on them as they were on me and then a couple of years into it, you resent it. You resent that someone is codependent on you and you quietly despised yourself for being codependent on them but not being able to admit this. 

Benji Block: There is so much more there that we could go into but I think you do a fabulous job of sort of diagnosing where you were at, which obviously comes from a lot of self-reflection and hindsight is 2020 and you know, you start to learn a lot about yourself if you will take the time to do some of the work you have done here even just the writing process I’m sure as you’ve said. 

It’s so cathartic, so much opportunity to look back at the lessons learned. This gives only a drop in the bucket I would say of the context to your full story. I mean, it is one where we could spend a whole hour on just your life story leading up to where you were in this moment, where you’re waking up, and your transformation, which is a big part of this book. So I want to get there, we have a little bit of context but I’ll quote you here. 

You say that “I have come to the truth that the universe knew what it was doing all along the way. It was teaching me a twofold lesson.” I want to get to the lessons, but you’ve brought up spirituality several times here and it comes out naturally in your language. Talk about the role spirituality has played in these lessons you’ve learned through all of this.

Jax Golding: Okay, so first off, I’m so averse to use the term “spiritual awakening”. You know, I don’t like to label things but what I will tell you is this, I grew up in a Christian household. I had loads of Muslim friends, Hindu friends, you name it and I always find it interesting that we were all segregated into these different congregations of people that were worshiping different things, and yet, all our messages were the same and yet we worship in different places. 

I always found it bizarre why there were wars and religion was used as the reason to justify those wars. So for me when I say spirituality, I take everything from every religion, mainstream or otherwise that makes me feel the sunshine from the inside out, that makes me feel love and I mush it up altogether and that’s for me spirituality because I can tell you, I have from Goddess Kali and Lord Ganesha to across to other sorts of things that just bring me alive and make me feel closer to God or spirit or source of the universe, whatever you want to call it. 

I accept that there’s something greater than me and I accept that that greatness is within me because I am a part of it and that’s transformed my life. 

Benji Block: I love that. How did that waking up like – well, not though just the waking up, I guess that language translates from as growing up you are in a Christian household, you are thinking I see something bigger than maybe just this religion, you know? I see it is much more expansive. How did you actually start to communicate that because a lot of people grow up in a religious home and they sort of rebel against it, right? 

Because it’s like, “Well, this is too constricting, this is too confining.” Was your family very accepting in allowing that transition to happen? 

Jax Golding: My family — well listen, our Christian household was very restrictive. I mean, the women are to wear hats in church, you know? So it was very traditional male sat one side, females sat the other side and so you can imagine the preaching from the pulpit was really similar; women, know your place. 

Benji Block: Well, it wasn’t progressive? 

Jax Golding: But I think how I navigated this whole process, Benji, is I’m a dabbler. So I would try out from Qigong to Tai Chi, I would ask my friends what happens in Mosque and learn certain things. So I think it is natural when you’re trying to find your way and trying to find what fits with you that you dabble and I’d encourage that. Take the good out of everything, see the similarities, whether that be from Kabbalah to Zen to Buddhism to Hinduism. 

The commonalities are hard to ignore because they all bring us back to ourselves and ourselves being the temple and the worship place of everything that is spirit, everything that is the universe, everything that is magical is us. We are divinity defined. 

Benji Block: So with what you’ve been through, what has spirit taught you through this, what are the lessons that you have walked away with even that you begin to distill towards the back half of this book? 

Jax Golding: I think for me, there is a plethora of lessons spanning from you good enough, you loved, you’re never alone because if I close my eyes and take a deep breath in and a slow exhale, I will feel spirit move within me. If I asked for help from my god and angels they’re there and I know a lot of people are like, “Yeah, yeah, you know, a load of crap” you’ve got nothing to lose, try it. You know, try and have that moment of silence and listen. 

You know, I wake up and hear the birds and I wake up every morning around about five, if not earlier just to give thanks and I am not talking a cool fancy meditation session of hours. No, I go outside, I listen to the birds, I say thanks, thank you for the day, thank you for my breath, just thank you for being alive. Do that for a week, it will transform your life, you will start understanding what gratitude means. 

You will start seeing the blessings in your life, you’ll start realizing that that guy that has road rage isn’t worth flipping your finger at him. It’s just not – it’s just you find the peace and that’s what I found. I found the peace and listen, I am not a tree-hugger, do you know what I mean? I like the gin and tonic, you know, I curse. 

Benji Block: Well, you balance that very well in this book, I have to say you’re good at, yeah, you’re good at bringing the spiritual side of things and like your personality is coming out in the book but also even just your word choice, your language throughout the book. You can tell, you know, it is not just fluff. 

Jax Golding: Do you know the thing is Benji, I don’t like it if anybody tries to hijack a certain concept like spirituality and so you have to behave in a certain way and in part, trying to like dominate and restrict how one is supposed to behave when you’re in contact with spiritual, when you choose to live your life a certain way, you know? I can say Namaste and I can still kick back a tequila.

I mean, it’s just like no one and that’s the point of being free is that no one needs to dictate to you how and when you get to connect to source. That’s for you to decide. 

Benji Block: I can say this from western culture specifically, there is a lot of spiritual interest but also of moving away from you know, maybe traditional religion and the ways of generations before. I wonder for you like what does it look like because you had a religious background and you had all of these relationships, some may say it’s easier for you to foster that type of conversation, that type of even just practice but how would you invite others who maybe don’t have such a spiritual background to get into that, more of that type of space and that type of world? 

Jax Golding: You know what? Let me just share with you, my dream is to have breathe centers, okay? Because I feel it’s part of my soul’s mission and I really want youngsters, the youth, anybody to be able to come to a space and just sit on the floor and breath because I think that is lacking in life. You know, just a place to sit quietly cross-legged, lie down, however you want and just breath and just the let the breathe of life flow through you. 

Try and be present, we have no idea what it means to be present and that is where I think churches will be overtaken and a lot of mainstream religion is if we had these centers, we’re all people from all walks of life. It is better for their religious backgrounds or not having you know, any background is just to come there together and just breathe and I am not talking about some fancy-shmancy person in front telling you how to breathe. 

I am just saying a normal bloody breath, okay? Breathe normally, close your eyes and just feel it, feel the life force within you and give thanks. That is where you start Benji, nothing more, nothing less, that’s where you start. 

Benji Block: We are, we’re starving for some silence and some space so it’s needed and yeah, you don’t tap into source, you don’t tap into anything spiritual without space and without some silence, so that is a really solid place to start. 

Jax Golding: This is the thing Benji, I am a bit of a low anomaly. It’s not like I liken to you know, any of these spiritual gathers of such because it sometimes does not resonate with me. I didn’t step out of mainstream religion to be restricted in spirituality. It’s just like do it in your own way. Do what makes you flow, you know, what makes you glow, what makes you feel good because every time you laugh, every time you smile, that is great energy and that’s where you want to be. 

When you are feeling down, that’s okay. That feeling will pass, it is an emotion that will just flow through you if you quiet and you take a breath and you know, I think we sometimes live in a culture of diagnosis. Everything has to be diagnosed, you know, we have to be happy all the time. That’s bullshit, you don’t have to be happy all the time. You can’t be happy all the time, it’s bloody abnormal, you know? 

You’re supposed to experience sadness, that’s the point of life, that’s the point of being soul incarnate, that’s the point of occupying this muggle form that we do, this meat bodies. There’s life beyond this. It always will be, there always has been, it is just for you to be open enough to just for a second consider that. Consider that this isn’t it. 

Benji Block: It’s wonderful to realize like the more life you live to that those moments of despair are invitations to wake up and are invitations into a different way of looking at things and to hope into more levels of trust and faith. So I appreciate you breaking down some of your story. The book goes into so much more detail on just your journey that you walk through but I appreciate this conversation and breaking it down a for us. 

As we wrap up, Jax, what do you hope when a reader completes this is just the main takeaway? What’s the feeling or the emotion you want them to walk away with? 

Jax Golding: Feeling of hope, a feeling of, “Shit, my life ain’t that bad” compared to us, you know? Oh my gosh, you just had a shitty ride and she’s still smiling. So yeah, I want them to know that all is never lost. That there is always, always a bright shiny sunshine light at the end of the dark miserable tunnel, and if I can do it, they certainly can. 

Benji Block: Thank you for writing this book, thank you for being vulnerable. Again, the title, Never Alone: Waking Up to Self-Love, Gratitude and the Whisper of the Infinite. Jax, where can people connect with you, reach out and stay connected? 

Jax Golding: Okay. Well, they can in my IG, my Instagram. My handle is @staywokeandbreathe and then bizarrely, I mentioned to you that about two weeks ago, I realized I had loads of footage taken during the COVID pandemic about myself and the process of writing this book and actually some footage on my actual awakening with regards to the birds, so they can follow me on @jaxgolding_ and that’s on my IG as well and they can ask me questions and see a bit of my mad quirky self. 

Benji Block: Yeah, wonderful. 

Jax Golding: My spirituality with a hint of Tupac. 

Benji Block: Yes, we need more of that in our lives. So you can go find Jax over on Instagram. Thank you so much for your time here. I know this book is going to be a great resource for so many, so we appreciate you stopping by Author Hour. 

Jax Golding: Oh, thank you so much, Benji.