Dr. Amy Johnson Blog’s

Your true nature

Not It

I’m not a quiet person.  I’m not a guarded person or a person who loves control.  I’m not a high achiever or a modest achiever or any kind of achiever.  Thought that was consistent with some of those qualities moved through me in the past, and I identified with it and acted accordingly. But that

Your Thing

We think we’re supposed to have a thing. Maybe your thing is being funny. Or that you have been through a lot and you come out stronger, or that you’re really good at your work. Young people are notorious for looking for their thing, as their mind scrambles to settle into some identity that will

Something is Off

“Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.”–Joseph Campbell Practically everyone I know feels like something is a little bit off. Like they’re out of the

Your Habit is Rooted in Fear. Here’s What You’re Actually Afraid of.

One of the LSBC students in the 6-week course saw something very clearly in our first week in class. She said, “Even though we didn’t really talk about this, for some reason it clicked with me that all of my behaviors are rooted around various fears.” She went on to list half a dozen imagined


The old paradigm implies that we are our psychological experience. We are the sum of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We are the “me” identity our left-brain interpreter constructs for us. We have a personality that is stable and meaningful, that tells the world who-we-are. The new paradigm couldn’t be more different. In the new

Life Wants to Live

You are life. You aren’t a separate me who has a life, as if you’re outside of life, owning some little corner of it.  There are no corners. There is no separation and so there is no one to own anything. You and life are one in the same. Life wants to live. I mean,

Habits End When They No Longer Help

As Linda woke up to the fact that her mind was trying to help her, but that its conclusions were not accurate or helpful, she was less fooled by it. She saw the wisdom in her habit. She realized that she didn’t have a hard time kicking the wine habit because she was weak or

Thought Believed

The only thing ever going on when there is any bit of discomfort or discontent is this: a thought believed. Thought arises and is viewed as all-there-is. There is never anything else going on. Thought arises and is viewed as truth. That’s it. It is that simple, but here’s why it won’t feel so simple:

Afraid to Look

When we think our experience is all there is, we’re often afraid to look at it.  When it feels uncomfortable or dangerous and true and personal, we numb. We avoid. We look away. We distract ourselves from our experience of life in countless ways, like staying chronically busy, needing to be surrounded by people or

Your Habit has Nothing to Do with You

I talked with Clare Dimond a few weeks ago about this quote from The Little Book of Big Change: “Your habit is not “you” and it is not personal. It is simply your brain doing what it does.” We dissected this quote line by line. Your habit is not “you”. Of course it isn’t. Who

You Will Never Feel Secure

The search for something that will make us feel complete can literally never be won. I’m not saying it’s difficult, it will run you ragged, or maybe try something else instead. I’m saying it’s impossible. The idea that something can be missing–the seeking itself–is the illusion of separation. It’s the illusion that there is a

Compare and Despair

Minds think their survival, which is really the body’s survival, depends on them knowing all they can about you and your weaknesses so they can save you from future failure. One of their favorite tools for knowing the future is comparison. Comparison is how the mind secures its position as “safe” and “enough.” To a

The Dream

I had a falling dream the other night. My son and I were crawling across a steel beam that was about two feet wide and 1000 feet off the ground. We were doing it together, inch by inch, very slowly and very carefully.  Our deaths were highly probable and we knew it. As we inched


Since you were about eighteen months old, thought has been masquerading as you. It began labeling and naming things and people, including a very special label called “me”. Anything felt to be arising around “your” particular bodymind became you and yours, me and mine. Sensations felt in the body were called “my feelings”. Thoughts in

Unique and Universal

The worries and concerns that flash in awareness–and they truly are just a flashing reflection of images, sounds, and sensations–are unique.  Sometimes they talk about your health or the health of loved ones. Sometimes about money. Often about something being missing, you not measuring up or needing something you appear to not have.  Around this

What You Know About Your Life is a Re-Presentation of the Past

Here’s something crazy to think about. Every single thing you know about your identity, and every single thing you know about your life, is rooted in the past. Who are you? You can only answer that question–using words and descriptions, anyway–by referring to the past. You’re a sister or brother or so-and-so’s child? How could

Thought Doing What Thought Does

We’ve come to expect our mind to behave the way we want it to rather than pausing to understand how minds naturally operate.  It would be like bringing Jelly home for the first time and after a few hours saying, “This one’s too hyper. Her bark is too squeaky. She doesn’t work the way we


I learned to worry at an early age. My mom worried a lot, often aloud, and I had no clue that what she was worrying about wasn’t real. You don’t as a kid. We were going to run out of money. We’d have to eat canned soup every night. We were going to lose our

Putting on a Facade

Somewhere around the thirteenth century in Bangkok, Thailand, a massive statue of the Buddha was made of pure gold. Not long after the statue was created, Burmese soldiers invaded Thailand. In a flash of insight, the Thai people covered the Golden Buddha in stucco and glass to hide its value and keep it safe from

Presumed Identity

Lucy asked, “Doesn’t the fact that my mind is always creating this identity, doling out these warnings and fears, mean there must be something to them? Why else would my mind go there so often?” “What if it’s just the opposite?” I asked back. “If fear and insecurity are innately, deeply who-you-are, why would your

Imposter Syndrome

In the early days of graduate school, I had a major case of Impostor Syndrome. Nearly everyone I was with had it too. I know because we talked about it openly.   We all walked into this new, intimidating situation, sizing each other up. What’s special about you? How did you earn your spot here? Is

No Core

My friend Phil Hughes wrote another book of metaphors. His first book was great. I like this one even more. It’s called “You Are Not Who You Think You Are!” One of my favorite chapters is called What Remains When the Last Layer Falls Away?  “Discovering who you are is like peeling an onion. Layer

Specific = Universal

Have you noticed that the more specific you get, the more universal things look? The more you talk with someone, going deep into the details of their life, their stories, worries, concerns, wishes and hopes… …the more you see that they are just like you? The specifics may vary quite a bit, but in diving

Regain Your Bearings

We had a nest of 6 baby bunnies in the bush outside our front door. I can’t even begin to express in words how adorable they were. Checking on these baby bunnies (from a safe distance, of course), discussing where their mother was, making bets on their birthday, provided hours of entertainment. We knew their

The Dinner Plate

In the LSBC curriculum, I ask students to imagine their psyche as a dinner plate.  It used to look to me like all people were born with a clean, perfectly clear dinner plate. But little by little, life takes a toll on our plate.  You get teased or left out–there’s a scratch on your plate.

More than Meets the Eye

It appears as if the experience we’re in–what we see, think, and feel–is the truth, reality, all there is.  Our psychology–thoughts, feelings, and behavior–not only appear to be all there is, they also look personal and meaningful, like they are ‘us’ or ‘ours’. But consider that our psychology–what we’ve been staring so closely at because


All human suffering is due to some very simple misunderstandings. All habits and addictions, worries, and feelings of stuckness stem from some very simple misunderstandings about life. They come from misunderstandings about who we really are and how our human experience works. With these misunderstandings cleared up, life makes more sense. This is true anywhere

People like me

If you ask your mind to tell you what’s likely in your future, I bet it will.  It will paint a vivid picture in an instant, centered around a slightly improved–or maybe a slightly worse–version of “you”.  “You” is in quotes because it’s not really you, of course. It’s the “you” your mind sees. The


I talk a lot about how amazing life is when you become a little dumber. “I don’t know” is our freedom mantra in the LSBC grad community. We say “I don’t know!” with giddiness and massive relief. Smart has its time and place, but dumb is true. We don’t know, but our minds tell us

You Just Think you are

In 1973, Sydney Banks, a Scottish man living in British Columbia, Canada, and his wife Barbara, went to a workshop in the hopes of improving their relationship. While there, Syd became friendly with another participant in the workshop. The two men bonded over the fact that they both struggled with insecurity. Syd Banks saw his

There’s Nothing to Wait for

“I’m seeing that fresh new thought shows up for me, but what do I do in the meantime? Just sit around and wait?” “Do I go sit in my office each day and wait for it? Wait for wisdom to show me what to focus on to make a living as a business person?” It’s

Home Base isn’t a Feeling

It’s our natural set point. The home to which the momentum of life naturally bounces us back.⁠ ⁠ But more than “within us”, home base is us. It’s everything. It’s the only thing there is. ⁠ ⁠ There’s often some confusion about this. Sometimes it looks like home base is a feeling. Or home base


The word ‘relax’ has taken on many meanings for me throughout the years. As a kid with energy to burn, I heard “relax”. Stop being so full of life. The adults wanted peace and quiet. Then, relax felt unnatural. As an anxious 20-something, I heard conflicting advice. “Work hard, make something of yourself, what you

Wild Goose Chase

I used to think that suffering was showing me I had it wrong. I thought that if I felt badly around my partner, my feelings were showing me that I was in the wrong relationship. If I woke up feeling badly, I wracked my brain for a cause. Is someone upset with me? Is there

Change is About Seeing. Not Doing.

Fifteen years ago, I rang in 2006 with a group of friends in Chicago. We had tickets to an event that included a four course meal followed by a night of drinking and club-hopping.  Early in the second course of our dinner, I started to feel sick. I managed to finish most of my meal

The Biggest Gift Under the Tree

You know what I find amazing? There you are, walking around, living your life, almost never truly realizing just how wise and resilient and shiny and bright you really are. It’s so easy to identify with the part of “you” that you see all the time. It’s like when my kids see the biggest gift

The Space

It’s your capacity to feel uncomfortable and know who you are. Watch that feeling rise and fall without tossing a bunch of words and concepts and mental ideas at it. If you eat, it’s your capacity to feel energy that your mind calls discomfort and know who you are beyond and bigger than it. Watch


We’re about halfway through the Fall 2020 LSBC course and I’m so full of gratitude. This is where things start to get real. This is where people who have spent the first couple weeks worried and comparing themselves to others, begin to relax and let things unfold as they will. This is where things often

Is your Head in the Clouds?

Has anyone ever told you that you’re out of your mind? It’s a huge compliment. Since when is being in your mind, with your head down low, out of the clouds, the responsible or wise way to be? Being out of your mind means you’re not caught up in the same limited reality everyone else

The Golden Buddha

Somewhere around the 13th century in Bangkok, Thailand, a massive statue of the Buddha was made of pure gold. Not long after the statue was created, Burmese soldiers invaded Thailand. In a stroke of insight, the Golden Buddha was covered in stucco and glass to hide its value and keep it safe from the invaders.


I love the word giddy. I love the feeling of it too. Who doesn’t? When’s the last time you felt giddy? Giddy is the feeling of so much energy–the energy that creates worlds–bubbling to the surface. So much pure, wild energy that you wiggle and bounce. Your face does funny things like Willow’s in this


She thought she was lost. She thought she couldn’t do it on her own.⁠ ⁠ She searched and searched. She sought out teachers and guides and supposed wizards. ⁠ ⁠ She went on a journey. She made new friends and learned about herself and her powers along the way. But the journey didn’t get her


We are lived. We’re moved through life by the formless energy that is who-we-are. It guides us, bringing experience to life moment-by-moment in real time. We’re lived by the space beyond temporary, fluctuating form, where both everything and nothing exists. That infinite intelligence is pure potential, pregnant-with-everything, and also completely open and void of any

Sitting on the Bus

I met a beautiful, wise woman yesterday. She told me a story about how it was for her 10 years ago. It was a tough time in her life. She had recently left one habit behind, only to find herself in another. The fallout from her latest habit found her without a driver’s license for

Here to Play

Willow is playing a Wickersham in Seussical the Musical Jr.  Thursday was opening night; the first of 9 performances she’ll be part of over the next two weeks.   This is her third production. She auditioned for this show in mid-August. The cast of 35 kids (ages 5-15) have been rehearsing at lest 6 hours

Beck’s Dog

This sweet, wonderful woman I know—I’ll call her Beck—has the funniest dog. Beck describes her childhood as Vietnam. Her home life was unstable, to say the least. She was abused and manipulated. In and out of foster care.  Beck never knew what was coming and she never felt safe. I think the world of this

The Time Song Showed Up

Feeling unhappy is a habit. What else could it be? It’s not your nature. It’s not a feature of your conditions or surroundings. It’s not dictated by your DNA. It’s simply where your mind goes. You unknowingly picked it up at some point, the way you unknowingly pick up an accent or a virus. It’s

The Biggest Gift Under the Tree

You know what I find amazing? There you are, walking around, living your life, almost never truly realizing just how wise and resilient and shiny and bright you really are. It’s so easy to identify with the part of “you” that you see all the time. It’s like when my kids see the biggest gift

Home Base. It’s Not What You Think.

In The Little Book of Big Change I refer to home base as that innate, default home within us. It’s our natural set point. The home to which the momentum of life naturally bounces us back. More than “within us”, home base is us. So it goes something like this. We feel stuff—thoughts, feelings, and

There is Nothing Scary in the World (and There is No Such Thing as Limitation)

Do you want a foolproof test of how deeply you see how the human experience really works?  Notice your initial reaction to the title of this post. That’s your test. Did you think: “Way to point out the obvious, Amy. Duh.”? Is it crystal clear that there is nothing scary in the world and there

There’s Nothing to Wait For

There’s a nice woman who is rapidly waking up to the fact that she’s not responsible for every good and productive thing that happens in her life. Even when she doesn’t focus, concentrate, set an intention, or deliberately set a goal, things still happen. Her kids still eat breakfast. She manages to get her car

Do you Suffer from Terminal Uniqueness? There is a Cure.

A client just told me about terminal uniqueness. It’s a term used often in Alcoholics Anonymous to refer to the tendency to believe that our particular experience, obstacles, or struggles are unique to us. They are unlike anything anyone else deals with. Of course it looks that way. We see the nuances of our own

Thoughts Change. You Don’t.

It’s noon, and so far today two people have said that they feel much calmer after our brief chat and one person asked if I was “some kind of miracle worker”. I’m definitely not a miracle worker. The conversations I have with people often lead to what feel like miracles—brand new ways of viewing old

Free Yourself from Habits by Seeing that You Already Are

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything—anger, anxiety, or possessions—we cannot be free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh Imagine there is a river running through you. Your entire experience of life flows through you, down that river. Everything you think, feel, and do

Habits Change When You Stop Trying so Hard (The Worst True Advice You’ll Ever Hear)

If you ever meet a woman who is having a hard time becoming pregnant, please don’t tell her stories about people who got pregnant when they stopped trying. Relax, surrender, let it happen naturally, stop trying so hard…. …it’s the worst advice ever, but not because it’s untrue. It actually is true. When we relax

Wisdom isn’t “in” You, Wisdom “is” You. Oh yeah, and there is no “You”.

Let’s look at something that’s so absurdly simple it can be hard to see. There’s really just one thing in life. One thing that’s real. People call that one “thing” a lot of names. The names are not the thing, but because we use words to communicate—and because the one thing happens to be invisible—attaching

Knowing When You’re Hungry (and Other Decisions that Aren’t Yours to Make)

Miller is fascinated with my ability to drive a car. How do you keep the car in the middle of your lane? Aren’t you scared pulling onto the highway with all those big trucks? How do you know where to go? You almost never get lost! Why does Daddy stop at yellow lights but you

Thank You

Thank You is not manmade. It moves through, not from; realized, not created.  Thank You hides in plain sight, patiently waiting to be felt. We seek and we miss it. We stop seeking and it finds us. Thank You finds me in unlikely moments and I know that is on purpose. Sitting at a stoplight.

Here’s How We’re Going to End the Violence. I Have a Plan.

Okay guys, here’s how we’re going to end this senseless violence nonsense.   I have a plan. And it includes you, so listen up. I need you to realize the truth about your human experience and your spiritual essence—what is real and what isn’t—as deeply and fully and as you can. I know that sounds bossy.

Your But Is Too Big

When I was seven or eight years old, I got to pick out two flavored lip balms from my mom’s Avon catalog. The flavors I chose were Banana Split and Strawberry Shortcake.  The lip balms came in tubes just like real, grown up lipstick. This was the highlight of my summer, no kidding. The fancy-looking

Sadness, Humility and the Truth about What’s Under the Bed

I’m not typically sad.   Of course I experience up and down moods like anyone, but depressed isn’t a feeling that visits very often. Except for this past summer. Off and on, here or there. There was a depth to my moods that I can’t remember experiencing in the past. A flat feeling that I recognized

You Can’t Heal Trauma or Rewire your Brain

Three of Gwen’s immediate family members died, and two of her remaining family members cut off their relationship with her, within a 10-month time span.  A month after the third death she asked the not-at-all-rhetorical question, “How do I get over this?” “What do I do? How do I heal myself from the trauma of

You Don’t Have an Inner Pig. Your Habit is Actually Your Best Friend.

There are several books out there who talk about your habit—and the thoughts and feelings that lead you to engage in your habit—as the enemy. They talk about a monster, saboteur, beast, or pig that (metaphorically, of course) lives within you and leads you to into your habit over and over. There is so much

Love Comes More Naturally than its Opposite

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion.  People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” –Nelson Mandela     I

Good Ideas Are Shallow and Short-Lived Without a Framework

The world is full of good ideas and nice people who are happy to share them. Bumper sticker phrases. Instagram memes. Pop song refrains. There is only now. Let it go. You are perfect. Spend time in silence. It’s all in your head. Forgive and forget. Serve others. These good ideas might point out something

The Single Source of All Addiction

Beneath the perceived complexity of addiction—beneath layers of chemical dependency, psychological and emotional instability, complicated relationships, fear and trauma—lie some incredibly simple truths.  These simple, universal truths apply to every human on earth, no exceptions. They are that universal. These truths apply to you regardless of the nature of your habit and regardless of how

When You Don’t Fear Your Feelings, Everything Falls into Place

What if you absolutely knew like you knew your name that feelings don’t require fixes or solutions? What if you knew with absolute certainty that all feeling passes naturally and effortlessly like weather passes through the sky? How do you suppose your day to day experience would be different? There would be zero attempts at changing how

The Creative Challenge of Whispering Someone Awake

The type of learning that leads to life-changing, foundation-shifting change isn’t intellectual. You don’t need to be “smart” in any traditional sense. You don’t need good conceptual comprehension, a good memory, or to be able to retain or recall information. Those things may have mattered in history or chemistry class, but they don’t matter at all

You Can Feel Things without Being Things

You can feel things, without being things. You can feel sad, angry, lonely, disordered or unwell without being sad, angry, lonely, disordered or unwell.  The truth is, you couldn’t be those things if you tried. What you are doesn’t change. What you are is the same one energy that is all things. The all-that-is-ness within


I’d like to share a conversation with you. It’s a conversation between Amanda and Jeanne Catherine about seeing–despite decades of struggling and suffering–that you are actually healthy and always have been. Seeing that there is nothing to recover because the you’ve always been recovered. It’s more about uncovering the truth and seeing through the illusions

Why you Might Be About 5 Days Away from Giving Up on Change. And What to Do Instead.

I bet you’ve tried change the hard way. Pretty much everyone has.  The hard way is where you fall into one or more of these traps: You consider your habit or unwanted behavior a huge problem; it looks like a personality flaw, a weakness, or maybe even a disease. It hasn’t occurred to you that

You Don’t Actually Have a Habit

You don’t actually “have” a habit.  There’s no stability there, so there’s nothing to have. There may be consistency. That’s the definition of a habit—something that habitually, consistently arises. But there is no stability. Your habit is a thought that arises within you. It is not yours. You don’t own it or have it and

The Power of Staying Where You Are

There is nothing in the world that can’t be worked out by taking things one…moment…at…a…time.  There are no unanswerable questions and no unsolvable problems. There is no angst or anxiety. All is ridiculously well when you simply Stay Here and do what occurs to you in this very moment. It doesn’t have to be right

You Don’t Have to Fix the Past in Order to Have a New Future

The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment.” ~Pema Chodron My family recently drove from Michigan to North Carolina—twenty hours roundtrip. To entertain themselves, my five-year-old daughter Willow taught my three-year-old son Miller to play rock-paper-scissors in the backseat. Miller learned the hand signals and got the overall concept pretty

Knowing Where to Look is the Only Thing You Ever Need

Do me a favor. Open both of your hands, palms up.  You have an empty left palm facing up, and an empty right palm facing up. Imagine that your left hand represents what you feel and experience.  In that hand is feelings of happy, scared, excited or nervous. In that hand is experiences of hunger,

Finding A Soft Place to Rest

This article was originally published in July 2016. There’s an inner churning that happens.  Or a circling, perhaps. Like a dog circling the rug, looking for a soft place to rest. That circling is what happens when a mind is disturbed. I don’t mean disturbed in any sort of stable or unhealthy way. Disturbed is a temporary

Playing the Game: A short story about Willow and Buddha

While I was at the Three Principles Global Community conference last week, and really kind woman stopped me in the lobby. She told me that she loved the story below so much that she was going to include it in her holiday cards this year. Really?! Well, that’s pretty awesome. I told Willow, the star of

Peace, Love, Wisdom and the Power to Create the Illusion that We are not

My colleague Jack Pransky said something I love. It’s been the inspiration for my upcoming Being Human Workshop.  This is how Jack summed up the truth of what it means to be human: “All we are is peace, love, and wisdom, and the power to create the illusion that we are not.” Isn’t that beautiful?

Truth or Turbulence?

Shirley has been a flight attendant for 40 years.  When she was very young and new on the job, she was badly hurt in some turbulence. She was afraid to fly for a while after that experience. One day a passenger noticed her fear and asked her about it. She admitted to being afraid and

Any Experience Can Show Up at Any Time

A friend was telling me about a panic attack he had.  As is often the case, he didn’t share his experience in a matter-of-fact, isn’t-that-interesting, what-do-you-want-to-talk-about-next kind of way. I could feel the emotion in his words. The fear, the confusion, the struggle to make sense of his experience. I felt him trying to connect

How to Know When You’re Creating Hidden Stress

I used to be a top notch pro at hiding stress from myself.  I could have gold medaled in coping.   The thing is, I just never thought I was feeling all that bad. I lived most of my early life in low-level worry, stress and anxiety, and I thought that was simply how life

You + Your Machinery

I’m at a substance abuse treatment center this week, sharing a deeper understanding of habits, addiction, and mental health with their staff.  The unintentional theme of our talks so far has been about our “machinery” (i.e., our brain) versus what’s bigger than the machinery. See, machinery can be a bit wonky. Machinery can be a bit

The Enormous Benefit of Seeing Life as a Mystery

“The mystery of life is not a puzzle to be solved, but a reality to be experienced” –Frank Herbert  Most things in life seem to fall into one of three categories: Things we think we understand Things we know we don’t understand, and Things our smart little human minds have never even fathomed I strongly

Fixing the Illusion

“Many therapies work on fixing an illusion…. You don’t need to do that. Come out of it altogether!” –Mooji If you were in my Truth class in the past couple of weeks, you saw my chattering teeth.  They are my new favorite prop to demonstrate how our minds talk, talk, talk, talk, talk constantly. Just

What We’re Really Recovering From

Recovery and change used to look very complicated to me.  Binge eating, bulimia, depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia, low self-esteem, obsessive thoughts…they were all different in my mind. All very unique, each requiring their own brand of specialized attention. And recovery from any of them was a gamble; a better-get-lucky, roll of the dice. I thought

What if Nothing You Ever Thought is the Truth?

Oh geez, here I go again telling you that your mind makes stuff up. But I want to take it a step further, because I really want you to grasp the enormity of this. What if everything you’ve ever thought–simply by virtue of it being a thought that passes through your mind–is biased and slanted?

Why You Need to Know that You are Always Already Home

We all have one singular motivation for everything we do in life: we want to feel at home.  There are a million ways you might express that one universal desire. You might say you want to feel like yourself, know your true self, be relaxed and on purpose in life… …you might say you want

If Your Thoughts aren’t True, Why do they Feel so True?

Another video! It’s an excellent question: If our thinking is so subjective, so ever-changing, influenced by our moods and a million other things, why does it FEEL so true? Why does it look and feel as if our conclusions are clear and obvious reflections of reality? If it’s helpful to let thought and emotion flow

If You’re Lacking Confidence, This is Why

(This article was originally published in September 2013. Three years later, it’s still true.) People have a lot of thinking about confidence. Life would be easier if they had more of it. The lack of it is the root of many of their problems. So I ask: What do you think confidence is, anyway? What

People Wobble, but they don’t Fall Down

I used to think ‘balance’ was the most boring word in the dictionary. I wanted to be off-the-charts, not perched in the middle of some bell curve (which is what I naively thought balance meant).   I was perfectly willing to accept myself as I was, as long as I was doing as well as

Soften around the Hard Parts

Six years ago when I was preparing to give birth to Willow, I wanted to do things as naturally as possible.  And I was scared. I had heard mostly birthing horror stories from the women in my family, all focused on what could (and sometimes, did) go wrong.  None of them spoke about the miracle

The Monkey on Your Back

I’d love for you to join me for what promises to be an enlightening, candid conversation on Tuesday, March 15th about finding true freedom from habits and addiction. I’ll be chatting with success coach Steve Chandler. If you don’t know Steve, he’s the author of 30 books and his newest project, called Death Wish, is

Truth is Simple; Thought is Complex

This week’s article was written by Terry Rubenstein at the Innate Health Center in London. I love Terry’s emails, and I thought this one on simplicity was particularly share-worthy. The truth in things is always simple. When anything is appearing complex to us, we’re simply seeing it that way in that moment, from the current

Look Inside, Not Outside. Really.

We experience our inner world, not our outer world. The nature of the human mind and consciousness is such that it’s not possible to directly experience something other than what our own mind is creating and bringing to life.   I’m not saying that we put our own subjective spin on what happens out in

Two Conversations about Life, Habits, Consciousness and Insight

I have two conversations for you this week. Both are about seeing how our human experience unfolds within and through us, moment-to-moment. Which should you check out? Both! But let me give you a little low-down on each so that you can make the best decision for yourself. The first conversation is with Lydia Wente,

To Speed Up or To Slow Down?

I once heard that humans are the only living creatures that speed up when we’re lost. All other animals in nature slow down.   Non-human animals instinctively stop and regain their bearings if they aren’t sure where they are or where they are going. They slow way down, letting their mind settle and allowing clarity—and

How my Mind Tried to Drag me Back into a Funk–and How I Didn’t Go

I recently had a pretty “off” few days.  There was a lot going on around me that I was taking on internally; replaying, rehashing, batting around in my mind. After what felt like a long funk, there was a moment in the car with the kids one morning when it lifted. The steady stream of

Back to Basics

Every article I write points at the same basic truths. Each article is a different way of looking at how our human experience is created moment to moment by our own thinking. This week, I wanted to take a step back and revisit the basics that I’ve seen be so helpful for so many people.

Rising Above What No Longer Serves You: A Conversation

I wanted to share a webinar I did in July. The topic was Rising Above What No Longer Serves You. (That also happens to be the theme of this year’s Being Human Weekend Workshop.) I really, really loved this conversation, especially where it goes in the second half as the other participants join in. I know it’s

The Truth about Questions and Answers

There’s a saying in A Course in Miracles that is something like this: all questions are from the ego. Only the ego wants to know.   The ‘you’ that you really are underneath the questioning mind has no questions. It has no beef with what’s going on. It doesn’t need anything that is not clear

How One Woman Saw A New Truth

The beautiful piece below was written by a former client of mine. She, like all of us, is on learning curve in seeing how things work. At times her learning curve has been steep; other times a bit more flat. But she’s fully in this conversation, looking with curiosity and hope toward what there is to

Watch this short video about the 2015 Being Human Weekend Workshop

Please watch this 9 min video about the Second Annual Being Human Workshop in Ann Arbor this October. I’m really excited about it and I hope you’ll take the leap and choose to join us for a life-changing weekend. You can find out more here (after you watch the video, of course!)   Ready to sign

When it’s Time to do Something, You will Know

At times, it might feel like you need to run your own life. It can feel like you need to be constantly looking out so that you don’t get yourself into some mess. Predicting and preventing problems so that you’re not constantly solving problems. Nearly every day I talk with people who are asking themselves

The Story of the Magic Oven

Imagine there’s an oven. A magic oven!   The magic oven has a timer that you can hear from wherever you are. Even the timer is magic because you don’t have to set it—the oven is so wise and so magical that the timer simply sounds off when your delicious creations are complete. Pretty magical,

How to Fall in Love with People

I’ve always been insanely curious about people. For literally as long as I can remember, I’ve read about characters in books and watched people around me in fascination, wondering how they see the world and what drives them to do what they do.  Curious and interested as I was, I wouldn’t say that I necessarily

A Conversation about Depression

I just learned that someone I only sort of know, but greatly admire and respect, is experiencing depression. I’m not sure it’s right for me to reach out personally at the moment. We aren’t close and I didn’t hear this news firsthand. But there a lot of things I’d like to tell her, if I

Let the Storm Pass Before you Leave Home

I love going for walks in my neighborhood. After being on the phone in my little office for most of the day, I can’t wait to get out and move.  As soon as feasible, I grab the double stroller and two chatty kids and hit the sidewalk.  I’ve walked in light rain and I’ve walked

Want to Experiment with Letting Go and Letting Life Lead the Way? Join me for The Surrender Experiment!

I recently read a book that blew my mind. It’s called The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer (the author of The Untethered Soul, a book I reference and recommend at the end of Being Human). The Surrender Experiment is the true story of what the author experienced when he stopped trying to control everything that

A Video Interview sort of about Anxiety, but Really About Being Human

My client and colleague, David Hamilton, recently interviewed me about understanding and ultimately having a different experience of anxiety. But as these conversations tend to go, what started off as something kind of specific to one human experience (anxiety) quickly expanded and unfolded into a look at the bigger nature of being human. David and I

The Search for Instant Relief

I can’t tell you how often I see people looking for instant relief.   They wonder why their understanding doesn’t always help them in the way they think it should. “I hear you”, they say, “so why don’t I feel better?” Or, “I think I get what you’re saying but that doesn’t help me now.

There are No Problems in Reality

The fact that all is well in the outside world—that there are conditions and circumstances but not problems, per se, out there—is something I’m continually discussing with people.   It’s quite simple, actually. And when people are already in a nice feeling, they see it right away. There’s something that just feels true about truth,

Why It Might Look Like People Don’t Change

It can look like people don’t change. Or at the very least, like they don’t change easily.   That’s not true though. We are capable of gigantic jumps in understanding; enormous leaps in consciousness that leave us feeling as if we’re living a completely different life even when nothing externally has changed. Of course, these

How to Hear What Someone is Really Trying to Say

My son Miller—now 3 years old—learned to climb out of his crib at a ridiculously young age.  Thanks to the magical technology of the video monitor, we’d watch our 16 month old baby put one chubby foot up on the side bars, pull himself up with freakishly strong baby biceps, and hoist himself onto the

Your Internal Sifter

Did you know that your mind operates like a plastic sifter? Watch me and my goofy co-star explain. Related posts: No related posts.

This One Fact Changed Everything for One Woman

I was interviewed for a podcast last week.  The very nice and very knowledgeable interviewer asked question after question about the techniques I use to help people have a deeper, more meaningful experience of life. She really wanted to give her listeners something of value that could make their life better right away, so her

Problems Don’t Have Roots

Problems don’t have roots.  They aren’t deep-seated. Just the opposite is true, actually. Any and all problems you might have are—relatively speaking–quite shallow. They are right there on the surface, created by (and existing completely within) the current moment in which you experience them. When the thought that brought those problems to the surface fades—as

How you are Different From, and also Exactly like, Everyone Else

Human beings are all the same.  We are also extremely different. See, all humans have the same basic nature. We’re working from one universal operating system, just like 1000 people who have a brand new iphone. Before pictures, apps, and downloads start happening, those 1000 phones are the same. Fresh out of the box, humans

The Mental Calming Effect of Commitment

Meet Dave.  When Dave was dating his girlfriend Debbie, he had a lot of complaints about her. Dave said Debbie was negative. She never saw possibilities, only problems. She expected too much of him. Dave said Debbie was hard to live with at times. And yet, something kept Dave hanging on. In time, Dave asked

The Brain is Fascinating, but Don’t Stop There

The human brain is a pretty incredible organ, as far as organs go.   It is a remarkable, complex piece of machinery. And, it is a physical thing we can touch, observe and understand. Although we now know that it can change throughout life, it is still somewhat fixed, already formed, and bound by certain

One Simple Question for Happier Relationships

The statement “what were you thinking?!” is very different than the question “what were you thinking?” The statement “what were you thinking?!” says: you’re crazy, you’re wrong, you clearly were not thinking, you should have done things differently. The question “what were you thinking?” says: help me understand where you’re coming from… Read the rest

How to Share the Truth (with Wisdom by Willow)

I get a lot of questions about how we can teach the things I write about to young children.   Raising children who see the truth about their nature, who are comfortable with emotion, and who know how their experience is created, is a big deal. It’s no exaggeration to say that this understanding could

You Are Far Less Stable Than You Think

How It Looked Then  Fourteen years ago I found myself with a diagnosis: panic disorder. I was having up to 25 panic attacks a day.  Many days, I spent more time in a state of acute anxiety than not. The thing about diagnoses is that they suggest a whole bunch of stuff that may or

No Need to Fix Everything

This article is by Judy Sedgeman. Please visit her site to read the rest…it is so worth the click over there. I know you’re going to love it too.  Lately I’ve talked with several clients who are sure that “fixing” something in their circumstances will bring them happiness. One is determined to find a job in

Stop Trying to be Better and just BE, better.

When I stopped “working on myself” and put an end to the all-consuming quest to be better than I already was, life became infinitely nicer.  I used to believe I had a problem: life wasn’t always wonderful. Making myself a more self-actualized, better person looked like the obvious solution. Turns out, all of that supposed

The Reason You Aren’t More Consistent

It’s an interesting idea we humans have…this idea that we’re supposed to be consistent.  We intuitively know that our state of mind is always fluctuating, but we want those fluctuations to be subtle, like the adjustments you might make to your steering wheel.  Bigger swings are usually met with concern that sounds something like, “I’m

Taking another Look at Traditional Psychology and Mental Health

Ours is not a model of mental health but one of mental dis-ease, focusing on where there is a lack of ease, glossing over the billions of things that are going right to look at what appears to be going wrong. Because the medical model has been applied to the human mind (in the west, anyway)

The Promise in all of this Crazy Stuff I Write About

When I first read this short blog post by my friend Bonnie, I knew I’d want to share with you all at some point.  She writes about the evolution so many of us go through. I went through it too, very similar to how Bonnie describes it. Imagine this—maybe you can relate:  You’re floating through

My Interview on Psychology, Spirituality, Bad Moods, and Finding Your Way

I was interviewed last week by my friend Lisa Esile (you know her…she’s the one who wrote that really cool piece about her year of silence that I shared with you a couple weeks ago). Anyway, Lisa teaches and writes about very similar things that I teach and write about. We have a lot in

Where Advice Falls Short

Have you ever wondered why we’re so set on taking advice from others?   When we ask someone else what they think or what they would do, we get their wisdom, their perspective, and a plan of action that would work for them. We do not always get wisdom, perspective, or a plan of action that

A Super Entertaining Story about Silence and Peace

I’d really love it if you’d read this hilarious and entertaining article.     My friend Lisa wrote it about her year of silence. Her year of silence was a long time ago, but as you can imagine, spending a year in silence is kind of a big deal in one’s life. So it took

Why Your Problems Are not Nearly as Permanent as They Seem

“When we…go back into the past and rake up all the troubles we’ve had, we end up reeling and staggering through life. Stability and peace of mind come by living in the moment.” ~Pam Vredevelt There is a way in which we tend to view issues in our lives that makes it seem like the issue is

How even your Bad Habit and Addictions are Signs of your Mental Health

If you look, I bet you’ll see that practically everything humans do is an attempt to feel good. I view that as an unmistakable sign of our inclination toward mental health. We clearly have a bend toward thriving…what could be healthier than that? But just because everything we do seems like our best option for

How to Float (A Song I want to Share with You)

One day several months ago, a woman named Jen reached out to me to let me know how much she loved Being Human.  She heard something really profound in the ideas in that book (ideas that I take no ownership of, by the way. They are universal principles, not my unique thoughts). Jen heard something

Doing Nothing as a Problem Solving “Strategy”

It can be confusing to hear me say ‘do nothing’, or that ‘there is nothing to do’ with regard to many of the things we consider problems in our lives. When problems show up as things that need fixing, doing nothing can feel ineffective at best; like resignation or powerlessness at worst. When I talk

Is Wisdom Really Just Your Common Sense?

It’s easy to see that there is an intelligence behind life.  We’re powered by something larger than ourselves. We all call it different names and think of it in unique ways, but nearly everyone of any background, culture, or religion (or lack of religion) tends to agree on some beyond-human force that inexplicably grows trees,

How to Live with your Mind at Ease, Reveling in the Experience of Being Alive

Michael Neill shared the poem If by Rudyard Kipling on a call I was on with him a few weeks back and it struck me as an excellent thing to share with you. The way of traveling through life described in the poem is entirely possible. It is the promise of the sort of understanding

When You Think You’re Not in Love Anymore

I bet you’ve known someone whose feelings shifted and they decided they were no longer in love with the person they used to be in love with. Maybe it’s even been you. When you fall out of love, it can really look like the person you used to love changed. Something that was once there

FREE Call — Bouncing Back to the Surface: How to Experience Ease by Doing Nothing

“If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.” –Sydney Banks   There is so much less to do in life than you might think. Have you noticed how sometimes, when you’re not trying or doing anything in particular, you find yourself bounced back

You Can’t Think Your Way to Positive Feelings (and you don’t have to)

Positive feelings are built into who you are. They are part of your design, they were in your original blueprints, they come pre-installed when you were born.  You can’t think your way to positive feelings, at least not in any real or lasting way. You can think happy thoughts and feel happy feelings, or think

Evidence That You Are Well and Always Will Be

“On a deeper level you are already complete. When you realize that, there is a playful, joyous energy behind what you do” –Eckhart Tolle I was recently speaking with a friend about what it feels like to connect with your underlying, always-there, state of well-being. I attempted to describe the indescribable—the feeling underneath the mental

The Futility of Revisiting the Past

“Going back into the negative past to find happiness is like trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”–Sydney Banks in Second Chance.  Each time I write on this topic, or post a quote like the Sydney Banks quote above on Facebook, some people disagree.  That’s not surprising at all. Therapy culture

A Love Fest with Life

Willow regularly has little love fests with whomever is around. They usually contain a handful of the following very enthusiastic declarations: I love my Mommy and Daddy! I love everyone in the world, even the people I don’t know yet! I love my brother so much! Miller is such a cutie baby, he’s my favorite

Musical Miller (and the Biggest Lie about Music since Milli Vanilli)

I take my boy Miller to a music class each week. He loooves music, loves to move and dance, loves to shake shaky things and beat drum-like things with large sticks. At the beginning of the class, the teacher reminds the adults in the room: All children are musical. We are born musical. All children

Why Life gets Easier when you Steer Clear of Self-Help

I used to read a lot of very traditional self-help. It wasn’t always the case—but it also wasn’t rare—that I’d close the book feeling a little worse than when I started. Searching for answers outside of yourself can be a desperate cycle of getting your hopes up, being let down, and blaming yourself. Self-help sometimes

Why I’m naming my book Being Human (even though you told me not to)

My second book is nearly done. I’m going to be totally honest without concern for how this sounds: I think it’s really good. I am super proud of this book in a way I never really was with Modern Enlightenment (which may have had more to do with post-pregnancy hormones than the  book itself, but

One more time…what’s my default?

I was emailing with a sweet, sweet client a few weeks ago about how her true nature is peace of mind and total well-being. She hadn’t been in touch with that true nature as of late—she felt far from her inherent well-being and instead experienced a blanket of heavy thought.   We talked about how

Healthy Suspicion

“Thought creates the world and then says, ‘I didn’t do it’” –David Bohm   Your experience of the world is created by your thinking. Everything you see “out there” is not preexisting “out there” as you’ll experience it, just waiting for your gaze to meet it. You’re projecting it “out there” as it occurs within

The link between focusing on yourself and depression

I remember hearing about some research once that linked self-focus—thinking about yourself a lot and making things that happen out in the world about you in some way—with depression. The more you think about yourself, the more depressed you are. There are obviously a lot of missing variables here. This doesn’t mean that focusing on

Enlightenment Lessons #4

Here’s the fourth video in the Enlightenment Lessons series. If you missed the first two videos, you can find them here. Related posts: No related posts.

On figuring it out

What percentage of your day do you suppose you’re in your head, trying to figure something out? Maybe you’re thinking about what’s for dinner or using concepts and memory to solve a problem at work. Maybe you’re trying to arrive at the best way to discipline your kids, ask your boss if you can leave

Bouncing Back

Humans are seriously resilient. We talk a lot about children being resilient. (Especially, it seems, after we feel like we’ve done something to hurt them.) But actually, all humans have the capacity for incredible resiliency. Given that our true nature is wellbeing—and that the only thing that can ever hide that wellbeing is thought—we’re always

From nothing, something. (One of my huge a-ha moments).

Who are you, really? I think it’s a pretty safe bet that if you find yourself reading these words right now, you see yourself as something much bigger than a collection of blood and guts and skin and hair. You’re obviously not your body. It’s probably just as likely that you don’t view yourself as

Behind the Veil

As I’ve reminded you many times, you are perfect. There is nothing wrong with you. Self-help is a massive misnomer. The only help you might need is understanding. Understanding that when your perfection and peace of mind are not obvious, they are only being veiled by personal thought. Understanding that personal thought is highly subjective.

Find Peace in the Wisdom Beneath Thought

“Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.” ~John De Paola My almost three year old, Willow, is obsessed with playing doctor. She lies on the couch, hands down at her sides. She hands me a small flashlight and a toy frying pan (which I’m told to pretend is a

What to do with the pain. (Our true nature).

When our thoughts drift to- and fixate on- horrible events in the world, we hurt.  If you pay attention, you’ll notice that your thoughts will also drift away from those things and you don’t hurt in those moments.  Even in the middle of unspeakable pain, thoughts part like the clouds and the sun peaks out

Spinning through outer space

In his book The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer says something so obviously simple and true that it’s been messing with my head ever since.  (Truth is astonishingly simple. Always.) He says we’re sitting on a planet spinning through outer space. Oh yeah!  I forgot. Did you? Maybe it’s partly my line of work, but I

A note from the universe

Source: Care2.com via The Wild Life I am the One and the All within you. It is time for you to fall in, to fly. It is why we gave you this experience. Surrender and let it happen. We’ll take care of it. You can be afraid, but you must fall. We gave you this

Gratitude for Being Human

Here’s what I’m grateful for right now: being human. The whole of it. Everything that being human entails. I used to think being human kind of sucked most of the time. With our habitual patterns that run on auto-pilot and our irrationally fearful thoughts and our unpredictable emotions. Human-ness felt like a big hassle. I

First, do no (more) harm

When you feel really bad, fixing things, feeling better, or getting back on track can be way too tall an order. Sometimes the best you can do is to focus on not making things worse than they already are.  In Wired for Joy, the affirmation is: ‘Minimize Harm’. When things are just a little bit

More Truth about Approval-Seeking

Trying to gain others’ approval—or even just worrying about their opinion of you—is a bit of a pandemic. If you are one of the stricken, this comes as no surprise. If you’re immune to this particular affliction, consider yourself blessed. I’m constantly thinking about new ways to lessen approval-seeking. New ways to quiet the voice

How to truly help someone

Your rational mind knows this, but I’m speaking to the irrational part: You can’t take on other people’s pain. You can’t grieve for them. There is no amount of tears you can shed that will lessen theirs. When my kid is sick, there is no amount of sick I can make myself (with worry, no

Whose opinion do you trust?

Whose opinion do you trust? When all those outside opinions of  you are screaming in your head, which one is loudest? Which carries the most weight?  Which one do you believe over the others? The voice that sounds most assertive or confident? The deepest (male) one? The oldest one?  The most Catholic, Jewish, or Buddhist

The Problem with Working on Yourself

Are you working on something? My grandma says she’s working on a quilt; my friend says she’s working on scrapbooks for her kids. Or like many of us, maybe you say you’re working on yourself.  You might say you’re working on your relationship or you’re working on accepting yourself more or you’re working on discovering

If your Mind was a Swimming Pool…

I have a favorite new visual for calming my mind and getting to the “bottom” of things. Like the bottom of a swimming pool, actually… It’s calm at the bottom of things. The trick is keeping the waves down so that you can notice the calm. Can you float on the surface all still and

Your Worth (On the Night You Were Born)

My daughter got a book from her aunt. It wasn’t even an intentional gift; it was thrown in with a bag of art supplies and hand-me-downs, all nonchalant-like.  It’s called On the Night You Were Born. I read it to her the other day. It begins: On the night you were born, The moon smiled

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