Dr. Amy Johnson Blog’s

Happiness and other emotion

Brownie Troop 43487

It was maybe my most meaningful gig ever. Sharing ‘how we work’ with a troop of 9-year old Girl Scouts. I asked so many questions. What do they know about their thoughts, feelings, and why they do the things they do? Where do feelings come from? How do they know things? Not the things they […]

Misread Signs (It’s The Opposite of What You Think)

I knew someone with a very sensitive stomach. The tiniest bit of worry and she’d instantly feel sick. She cursed her stomach. Saw it as a weakness, a flaw. She wanted her stomach fixed. Her mind was full of potential ways I might help her toughen up her wimpy tummy. Could we train it to […]

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 […]

What is So Horrible About a Feeling? (Or, Cute, Cuddly, Adorable Panic.)

There are a few students in The Little School of Big Change who experience panic in large crowds. We’ve been exploring this on our forum. The LSBC students have seen quite a bit about where their experience comes from. They have gotten personally curious about who they are—they aren’t anxious; they aren’t afraid of people. […]

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 […]

How Your Brain is like the Play-Doh Fun Factory (and how this Can Seriously Improve Your Quality of Life)

Your brain is an appliance. A physical apparatus.  It’s a little like the Play-Doh Fun Factory (which is modeled after a pasta maker in case you aren’t familiar). You select an extruder plate (an extruder plate is one of those things that looks like a stencil with shapes cut out) to place over the opening. […]

Change You Didn’t Know You Wanted

I recently wrote the foreword to Jill Whalen’s new book, Victim of Thought: Seeing Through the Illusion of Anxiety.   Victim of Thought tells Jill’s story of finding freedom from something she didn’t know was a problem. Which is kind of interesting, isn’t it? Finding peace and freedom that you didn’t know you didn’t have? […]

At ease or dis-ease? Here’s the one thing that’s always happening when life feels tough.

Life moves through you. It powers you.    Imagine a kaleidoscope sitting in a dark corner of a shelf. With no light moving through, it’s just a pile of plastic. Then someone picks it up, puts it to their eyes, and turns toward the window. Stuff! Shapes and colors are brought to life by the […]

Horizontal versus Vertical: Which Kind of Change are You Inviting?

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 constantly changing, naturally and effortlessly.  We are wired for change. Our understanding of life is constantly evolving—just look at how radically and naturally your world view and understanding has changed from the […]

Why Change Didn’t Stick

People I’m working with for the first time often wonder why they didn’t experience deep, lasting change in the past despite the fact that they did ‘all the right things’.  They talked to the right people about their problems. They paid the money and put in the time and effort. In the case of anxiety, […]

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 […]

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 […]

I Hate Being Human

I recently heard someone say “I hate being human.” Can you believe it? At first I couldn’t…but then I totally could. I knew what she meant. We’ve all felt that way.  We hear people say it all the time in different words. They say: I don’t want to feel this How do I fix this? […]

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 […]

Making Choices with Brand New Thought Rather than What’s Already on Your Hard Drive

We’ve all been in that place of thinking we need to decide or figure something out that we just can’t decide or figure out. We can’t see what we can’t see, until we can. But what do we do in that period of not seeing? We often scratch and claw at an answer, trying desperately […]

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 Have No Idea How Safe You Really Are: A Story about Buddha’s Fear of Fireworks

**This article was originally published July, 2014** Not unlike most dogs, my dog Buddha is petrified of fireworks.   Unfortunately for Buddha, our little corner of the world (maybe also not unlike your corner of the world) is positively cuckoo for fireworks. The past couple of weeks have been rough on her. (That’s her in the […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

Troubles? Or Simply Visitors?

One thing has been strikingly clear to me lately: We only have a problem when we think we do.  Our calling something—anything—a problem (or whatever words you use: this is wrong, this is hard, why is this happening? I don’t like this, it’s anxiety, it’s my habit) is the only thing that makes it a […]

Which Department is Running the Business?

I went to a workshop last Sunday put on by Elizabeth Gilbert.  In the workshop, we wrote a series of letters. One of them was from our fear.  Fear spoke through us; we took dictation. “Dear Amy, I am your fear”…that kind of thing. Now, we all know that fear is a real drama queen. […]

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 […]

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 […]

Why You Want to Make Choices, not Decisions

I once heard that the Latin root of the word decide is to kill, or cut off. As in to kill or cut off all other options.  That’s how it often goes, isn’t it? We decide, and that’s it. A stake is firmly planted, blinders are on, case is closed. Once a decision is made, […]

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 […]

Getting in Front of the Pull

The image to the right is my new favorite way of thinking about how the machine-that-is your-brain will lead you through life, if you let it.   Your brain is brilliant. It’s capable of incredible feats of intellect, memory, and logic. It keeps your body humming along and it has successfully kept you alive long […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Trick you Fall for Every day of your Life

**This article was originally published here in October 2014** Imagine that you wrote yourself a really mean letter, detailing all of your flaws and faults.  You put the letter in the mail, addressed to yourself.  A couple days later, it arrives in your mailbox. You read the letter. While it probably doesn’t feel good—it might […]

It Only Works One Way

One of my favorite things about understanding the way our mind creates our experience is that it’s so simple.  It only works one way. The spiritual energy that is alive in all things makes it possible for thinking show up within us. That thinking is brought to life by our consciousness in the form of […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

Crying with a Cookie in Your Hand

Much as it pains me at times, my kids are growing up. (If you’re new here and you aren’t familiar with Willow and Miller, check out Being Human. Or these favorite, favorite, favorite posts.)  They are still amazingly present little balls of life, but I see them getting caught up in their thought-created inner worlds […]

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 […]

Your Thoughts and Feelings aren’t ‘About’ Anything

As much as it looks like your suffering is caused by something out in the world, it’s not.  And as much as it feels like your anxiety is about something, it really isn’t. Your drinking isn’t about alcohol, and your working-all-day-and-night habit isn’t caused by your type-A personality. Your insecurity isn’t due to your shyness […]

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, […]

The Truth about Thinking About Yourself

“The day you cease to travel, you will have arrived”—Japanese saying I heard somewhere  The more you think about yourself, the less content you tend to be. You intuitively know this to be true, don’t you?  It works in reverse as well: the more content you are, the less you tend to think about yourself. […]

Acceptance is not the Consolation Prize

I’ve never met anyone who wouldn’t want something about themselves to be a bit different.   Whether it’s being a few inches taller, or being a little more focused or driven or relaxed, we can all point to something we’d change if we could. It’s only human. It’s not a problem that we can all […]

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 […]

Why I’m Not Proud of Myself for Ending my Habit

I am unbelievably grateful that I am no longer caught up in my former binge eating habit.  But when someone asked me last week if I was proud of myself for leaving it behind, the question caught me off guard.  I don’t feel proud at all. Pride isn’t the right word. Pride puts me in […]

Your Psychological Immune System and Endless Do-Overs

One of my favorite experiments to suggest is for people to watch their internal slate clear.  So Mary notices herself nervous about her job interview. In the thick of her nerves, they are all she can feel. Then, she notices at some point mid-interview…or maybe it’s after the interview…that she feels different. Calmer.  A bit […]

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 […]

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 […]

When we Fear Emotion

A woman was recently telling me how emotions were not okay in the family in which she grew up.   Feeling bad—and being honest about it—w as not an option. So she learned to pretend that she was feeling okay when she was not. She began to carry on as if everything were wonderful when […]

Your Problems are not about You

I have a friend whose husband just walked out on her and her three young children. She is barely getting by financially, she has some mounting health issues due to the stress she’s experiencing, and she is caring for an elderly parent.  Her circumstances are tough in a way that I can’t pretend to understand. […]

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 […]

It’s Okay to Have No Goals and Want Nothing

Maybe you’ve had a time in your life when there were no particular goals you were working toward and nothing in particular you were dreaming about. When, if someone walked up to you on the street and granted you a wish, you’d need a few minutes to place your order? I have clients in 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 […]

Do You Think You’re in Denial?

The concept of denial is a somewhat unfortunate one. Not because people don’t sometimes push things they don’t want to face out of their awareness. They surely do.  But because we innocently use the concept of denial to make our mental health look like a problem. When you’re not suffering to the degree you think […]

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 […]

What a New House has Shown Me About Being Human

We just bought a house.   It’s a great house, but it also needs a lot of work. Some of the work is relatively small — like painting every ceiling, wall, door, baseboard and square inch of crown molding — while some is much bigger — like a complete kitchen and master bathroom remodel. We’ve […]

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 […]

Falling in Love with Any Work You Do

Like most high school and college students, I went through a lot of summer jobs.  I was a hostess at Applebee’s. I worked in a Ford Motor Company plant where I drove a hi-lo, picking car parts to ship off to assembly plants around the world. I was a bartender at a dive bar outside […]

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 […]

How to Find Clarity When You’re Confused About What to Do

“Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself.” ~Cicero  You know that state of confusion where you feel really unsure about what to do—you’re talking about it with all of your friends, making lists, weighing options, lying awake all night? As truly confused and unsure as you may feel in those moments, you’re not. You […]

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 […]

Peacefully, Gracefully Annoyed

I realize I sound a bit crazy when I talk about having bad days that aren’t so bad (as I do here. And here).  It is so comfortable and…different…to not fear what you feel. To really get that whatever is going on for you is human, perfectly okay, not the least bit meaningful, and on […]

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 […]

How to Stop Drinking, Smoking, Binge Eating, Shopping, Obsessive Tweeting, and Anything Else you Don’t Want to Do

For the past 6 months, nearly half of my coaching practice has been devoted to coaching women with binge eating disorder. It started when I read an incredible book called Brain Over Binge by my now friend, Kathryn Hansen. Kathryn tells the story of how she cured her own binge eating habit by seeing that […]

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 […]

The real Truth about Stress (Or, Why bubble baths might get you clean, but they aren’t going to cure your stress)

I was on my local news last week talking about stress. The truth about stress, actually. It was a little risky. You know how local news stations love to run stories about coping with stress and raising your stress tolerance? Well, I was sitting down with the health reporter who reports on those things, telling […]

The Story of Little Mind and Big Mind

Let’s talk about two minds: Little Mind and Big Mind. Little Mind is your personal thinking. It is the thinking that you grab onto and identify with; the subjective, biased thought that occurs to you and results in your own unique view of reality. Big Mind is…well…it’s not that. It’s something else; something a little […]

Raising Children who aren’t Afraid of Emotion

It seems that every time I hear useful advice about how to influence children, it always comes back to the same thing: Whatever it is you want your kids to do, do it yourself.  (This applies to relationships with anyone, by the way. Give what you want to get. Be the change you want to […]

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 […]

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 […]

So What if You Don’t Know?

“Sometimes questions are more important than answers” –Nancy Willard It always amazes me how much meaning people attach to the innocent little state of uncertainty. Actually, “I don’t know” is an innately neutral statement of fact pertaining to a single moment in time. There is never anything inherently bad, scary, or ‘wrong’ with “I don’t […]

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 […]

How to avoid the Ups and Downs of life

Stuff happens in life. You’ve probably noticed.  Stuff happens to you without your approval and beyond your control. That’s the way of it. Yet, most of the people I talk with want the ups and downs to stop. They are searching for a way to keep life in the “up” territory to avoid the “downs”. […]

Why Bad Moods Aren’t as Bad as You Think

“Most of the shadows in life are caused by standing in our own sunshine.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson How many times have you heard “Follow your heart” or “Let emotion be your guide”? Too many to count, I’d bet. It’s generally good advice—it’s certainly wiser to follow your own feelings than to blindly do what other […]

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.

Want to get lucky? Here’s how.

Things happen to us that we can’t control. All the time. But we do have some control over what we bring to the table: how we prepare, our qualities, our attitude. And we do have some control over how we respond to those chance things that happen to us. It’s like the old joke about […]

How much pleasure will you allow?

Sometimes a quote just speaks to you.  This is one of those for me.  “When you die, God and the Angels will hold you accountable for all the pleasures you were allowed in life that you denied yourself.”  –Roger Housden I’ve read this over and over. I sound like Meg Ryan in that famous diner […]

Does a happy life really = a better life?

There must be a rumor going around. Virtually all of my clients tell me about it at some point. The rumor sounds something like this: We should nearly-always be happy. That it’s somehow unenlightened to have bad days. That negative emotion should be quite rare and reserved for only those times when something truly horrible […]

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 […]

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 […]

How to drop the extra (mental) weight

“Letting go gives us freedom and freedom is the only condition for happiness.” -Thich Nhat Hanh Most people I know are carrying extra weight—and I’m not talking about gaining a few pounds.  I’m talking about the mental and emotional weight we lug around with us. We carry it everywhere—like a backpack full of bricks—and it […]

Conducting the Symphony of Shoulds

I recently spent an entire week writing down all my thoughts that began with the words “I should”. I went through a lot of paper. Some were blatantly obvious. They flowed from my head and straight out of my mouth, like when I told hubby, “I should be working, it’s almost 9am” as we cleaned […]

A New Way to Make a Wish

Willow and I have a girls’ day routine. We go for a long walk and I take her to a park she loves because there is a fountain there. She stands on the ledge of the fountain. I give her a penny and tell her to throw it in and make a wish. “What’s a […]

Being the perfect girl

“You can be anything you want.”  Empowering, right?  One of my all-time favorite books discusses how my generation grew up with feminist mothers “empowering” us with this very statement, day in and day out. My mom taught me this. Did yours? But instead of empowering us, that simple little statement set off a lifelong quest […]

5 suggestions for when you don’t know what you want

A lot of you reached out to me after last week’s article on What to do when you don’t know what you want.  Seems it struck a chord. Nice to know you’re not alone, huh? Let’s very briefly recap the key lessons from that article: You might be making things harder than they need to […]

What to do when you don’t know what you want

For all the talk about getting clear on what you want, having a vision, keeping your eye on the prize… …I want to tell you that it’s also okay to have no flippin’ clue what’s next. It’s okay to not know exactly what you want. It’s okay to have no vision. Or for your vision […]

Are you ready to wean? (It’s okay if you’re not)

We’re in the process of weaning Willow from her pacifier. Let me clarify what I mean by “the process”.  We took it away 10 days ago and now we’re dealing with the sad, disruptive, horrible fall out. She loved her Nuk. It soothed her, comforted her, put her right to sleep. She misses that soothing […]

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should

Here’s something I’ve been re-learning lately: Just because I can doesn’t mean I should.  Just because I can get up to exercise at 6 every morning does not mean I should. Just because I can work until midnight does not mean I should. Let this be the new anthem of the good-girl. The perfectionist, over-achiever, […]

If nothing ever changed, could you be as happy as you want to be?

The power was out on much of the East Coast last weekend.  Some people were really affected by the outage. You’ve seen these people—the ones who end up interviewed by the local news or The Weather Channel. Their lives are put on hold until power is restored. They have no say in when their power […]

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