Dr. Amy Johnson Blog’s

Being Human

Navigating Anxiety and Worry in Uncertain Times

It’s easy to worry your way through these uncertain days. Binge watching the news. Binge eating and drinking everything in sight. Numbing in whatever way brings you momentary comfort. It doesn’t have to be that way. Although your outside freedoms may be limited, your internal freedom never is. And although there are a million things […]

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 […]

Acceptance Can be Very Misleading

Acceptance is kind of a psychological buzz word. People everywhere are convinced they need to “accept their feelings” or “accept reality” in order to be free. And there may be a nugget of truth in that. Resisting and fighting certainly aren’t going to bring freedom. But there’s a critical distinction in this acceptance thing we […]

New Year, Original You

“New Year, New You” is a marketing hook used to sell all sorts of things this month.  It’s also one of my least favorite phrases ever. I’m not saying there is anything inherently wrong with it. They are just innocent little words. And I’m not saying there is anything intentionally salesy or manipulative about it. […]

Resilience isn’t a Personality Trait. It’s a Human Given.

I was talking with some friends recently about a mutual friend of ours.  Our mutual friend had a tough year. Shocking divorce. Health issues. A temporary slip back into depression and old, addictive patterns used to numb that depression. We all agreed: Our friend has really gone through the lowest of the low. He was […]

The Content Blob that is You

I recently heard an actor being interviewed about her process for getting into character.  She explained that she creates a history—in her own mind—for the character she needs to become. The movie script points toward some history, of course. But this particular actress goes beyond that. She vividly imagines her character at various moments in […]

Why Tools and Practices Are Nice, but They Aren’t ‘It’.

I spent years feeling less-than because I wasn’t a regular meditator.  (Wait…you too?) It just seemed so appealing. So magical. There you are in stillness, tapped into something far deeper than your typical, mind-manufactured experience. Feeling at one with all of life, in complete peace and tranquility. Insights and creative ideas flowing through you. Wayne […]

A Paradigm Shift over 100 Years in the Making (and you have a front row seat)

We are standing at the cusp of a new understanding of the human experience.  The field of psychology has always lacked a paradigm of unifying principles. “Hard” sciences like physics and chemistry have laws. There are basic principles—like the laws of motion in physics—that underlie and unify every discovery within those fields. Everything in physics […]

The Problem of the Day

I had a close friend in graduate school. I’ll call her Karen.   A few years before I met Karen, her mom died after a long illness. Because Karen was the oldest child (Karen’s parents were divorced), she was responsible for making some critical medical decisions on her mother’s behalf. She never knew exactly what […]

 What Are You Not Seeing?

There’s a common phenomenon among students of this understanding I study and share.  We’ve seen some things about life that have been really helpful. We’ve had insights that have made clear what was previously murky. We’ve found relief from suffering at times, and we’ve probably all had the experience of laughing out loud at how […]

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 […]

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 […]

Whose Mind is It Anyway? A Video Interview with Two Cool Authors about an Amazing Book

I don’t have enough space here to list all the wonderful things about the book, Whose Mind is it Anyway? by Lisa and Franco Esile. But I’ll list a few:  This little book sneaks essential truths about human life into a FUN, quirky, creative package. You’re likely to experience an inner space and quiet–the voices […]

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 […]

How to Live with Your Mind at Ease: An Illustration

The fluid, easy, common sense way of being in the world that I write and speak about is both incredibly deep and profound, and also incredibly evident and obvious.    It is life-changing and core-shaking, and at the same time subtle and gentle. I’ve seen people grasp these truths and become literally unrecognizable, shocking everyone […]

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 […]

What does Inside-Out Really mean, Anyway?

At first glance, it looks like the world around us determines how we feel.  It looks like: Your cat runs away = you feel sad.  If your cat hadn’t run away = you’d feel better. And that’s probably true about the cat. I mean, it’s not true for everyone, always, across the board. But in […]

Are you Going through Life Putting Stakes in the Ground?

We humans love to put metaphorical stakes in the ground. Our minds crave certainty and efficiency. As a way of feeling more certain, we love to label, classify, decide, and generally believe that we know what’s what. Here’s how this can look: Liz was struggling with a binge eating habit. To help her move past her […]

Are you Life’s Annoying Backseat Driver?

My husband is a major backseat driver.  To his credit, he tries hard not to be. He is quiet while I’m driving. It’s not like he’s screaming directions or barking orders at me–at least not since that last mid-trip “discussion”… But he definitely tries to drive from the passenger’s seat. Every time I pull into […]

How we Create Problems for Ourselves (and How to Stop)

“If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.” ~Ram Dass  I just returned from a four-day trip with my family. It was my own family of four (my husband and two kids), plus my mom, my two sisters, and my brother-in-law. It was great. We get along well and have fun […]

You Get What You Get (and don’t throw a fit)

A couple years ago Willow came home from preschool repeating something her teacher had said in class. “You get what you get, and don’t throw a fit.” Maybe you’ve heard this before. I hadn’t, and I instantly loved it. Not only because it put a stop to a lot of “it’s not fair” arguments (it […]

It’s Called a No-Brainer for a Reason

A couple years ago I went to a 4 day event in La Conner, Washington.  Choosing to go was a complete no-brainer. But following through on my choice was very hard for me. It felt hard to decide that it would be okay to leave my kids for 4 days (with their extremely responsible father […]

When It’s Over, It’s Over

I heard something from a client yesterday that was music to my ears. In talking about her week prior, she said “I know it was full of ups and downs, but I didn’t feel the need to talk about them. And I don’t even remember them all now.” No, she not in denial and she […]

I Don’t Always Know What’s Best for My Daughter. Or Myself.

Willow started kindergarten last week.  All summer, I listened as the moms in the neighborhood talked about the teachers at our local elementary school. Many of those moms are teachers themselves and all of them have children in the school already, so they had a lot of context I didn’t have. Which means I didn’t […]

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