Dr. Amy Johnson Blog’s

The nature of thought

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 […]

Nothing You Think is The Truth

Imagine yourself a chef. There is an infinite number of meals you could conceivably prepare, with a staggering number of ingredients available on this planet. And you, as a human being, are part of an even more infinite (it’s possible, trust me) source of creativity and brand new thought. Words can’t begin to describe the […]

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 […]

There is No ‘About’

I’m a little obsessed with something this week. (Just ask the students in The Little School of Big Change. They get an earful about my fixation du jour). It’s this: There is no about or of when it comes to our psychological experience. In other words, you aren’t angry about the government, what you ate […]

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 […]

If it’s Taking Too Long to Change, This Might be Why (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this exploration on why you might not be experiencing as much change as you’d like, I suggested you take a look at where you’re planting you in the equation. (You can read Part 1 here if you missed it). Where you might be taking the simple description of how life works […]

If it’s Taking Too Long to Change, This Might be Why (Part 1)

If you’ve been looking toward the understanding I share for a while and you’re feeling the same as (or even worse than) usual… If who-you-really-are and your “issues” in life look as real and fixed in place as they always have… There are two questions I hope you’ll consider. The first is this: How much […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Proactivity Paradox

Self-help books tout the need to be proactive. We should know what we want. Stay focused so we don’t drift. Choose, lest we end up with a life we don’t like. That makes a ton of sense when you’re turned around about how life works. (And by the way, we’re all turned around about how […]

The Tortoise and the Hare

This is my new favorite metaphor for what’s going on within us. There’s a hare. It is quick and sharp but easily distracted. It darts around, seemingly with purpose…and then it stops unexpectedly, forgets where it is, or changes course. If you compare the hare to our inner experience, it’s reminiscent of something like a […]

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 […]

When You’re Stuck on a Mental Merry-Go-Round

Tony hadn’t been sleeping well. One night of no sleep was manageable. Two nights in a row felt worrisome. By the third and fourth nights of very little sleep, his mind was hyper focused on how he was feeling and what would (or wouldn’t) happen when he crawled into bed that night. Am I tired? […]

You’re not the Boss of Me: How a very Basic Understanding of Your Brain (and What Powers Your Brain) Can Free you from Pretty Much Anything

The publisher of The Little Book of Big Change asked me to write something for their blog about the lower brain. I was a little hesitant. Not because an understanding of the brain isn’t super interesting. It is. And seeing how the brain works in a deeper, more insightful way–beyond the mechanics–can be incredibly freeing. […]

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 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 […]

When Seeing Life as Black-or-White is Incredibly Insightful

Life isn’t really black-or-white…but seeing it that way has been one of the most helpful things I’ve ever done. Here’s the either/or I’d like you to consider: We’re either in life, in the moment, immersed and present…that’s one end of the spectrum. Or we’re in our heads, in our personal thought systems and our subjective […]

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. […]

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 […]

I Know I’m Feeling my Thinking, but…

The first time I heard that I was “living in the feeling of my thinking”, I thought: “No kidding”.  As my kids say (usually with a frustrated eye-roll), “I already know that.” The second time I heard it, I thought: “Seriously, this again?” The third time, it felt like all thought stopped. My mind got […]

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 […]

There’s an Excellent Chance You’re Completely Wrong about Why You Do the Things You Do

Every profession has rockstars. You know, those people in your field who are as kind and down-to-earth as they come, but in whose presence you feel like a tongue-tied loser. As a graduate student, one of my professional rockstars was Daniel (Danny, to those who actually knew him) Kahneman. My field of study was social cognition–how information about […]

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? […]

Experience is Always Changing. But that’s Not the Point.

I talk a lot about how our experience is always changing.  It is. Thoughts and feelings are fluid, impermanent, not “yours”.  They are like weather, coming and going on their own. A revolving door of human experience. Why exert effort to change it? It moves out naturally in its own time. Why take it personally? […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Fake News

There’s a lot of talk about fake news these days.  A good portion of what we hear is untrustworthy. Untested. Not just biased—flat out untrue. But what about the fake news in our own heads? So much of what we hear from our own thinking is also untrustworthy, untested, biased and untrue. My friend Craig […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 + 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 […]

[Video]: Why is my Friend (who has Stage 4 Cancer) More Peaceful Each Time I See Her!? A Striking Example of the Power of Understanding.

I’m always having conversations with people about the fact that we feel our own mental dialogue, and only our own mental dialogue, all day every day. Life is an inside-out experience, coming from within our own minds, not from the world around us or from the things happening to us. And I totally get that […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Habits are the Solution, Not the Problem

There’s something quite intuitive about the fact that the more attention we pay something the more a part of our experience it becomes.  Shower your plants, children, hobbies, or relationships with attention and they not only thrive, they become a bigger part of your life. Stare at–or even just think about–that cut on your leg […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

Is Your Mind Playing Servant or Master?

(Read this on Huffington Post or comment there, if you want!) You’ve heard, “The mind is a wonderful servant but terrible master,” right? Or, “Use your mind; don’t let it use you”? Over the past few years in my own life, I’ve seen that these are not only cute sayings people toss around when they […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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. […]

If you Want to See Something New, don’t ‘Turn to the Hows’

One of the biggest obstacles to hearing something insightful and helpful is what I call ‘turning to the hows’.  Imagine we’re talking; just chatting it up about life. Maybe you’re telling me about the strong cravings you have for a drink at 3 o’clock every afternoon, or you’re telling me about your panic attacks, or […]

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.

That Thing your Mom Always Said about You? It wasn’t Actually about You.

I recently spoke with a woman who was holding herself back because she was afraid that if she was too successful, she would make others uncomfortable. It was the old “Who do you think you are?” mentality—who did she think she was to do big things in life? Those weren’t her thoughts or her questions. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Why? is a Natural Question, but not always a Helpful One

Everyone wants to know why.  Why do I keep doing that? Why don’t I get it yet? Why do I feel this way? Why is a natural question. We’re curious…so we wonder why. Even more than that, we believe we need to know why so that we can solve our problems. Our problems look formidable […]

Why Willpower Doesn’t Work

I just found out that my upcoming book (it’ll be published by New Harbinger this time next year) will be called The Little Book of Big Change: The No-Willpower Approach to Breaking any Habit. Although I wouldn’t have necessarily thought to describe it as a “no-willpower approach”, it is an accurate description. It’s not that […]

Seeing Something that Changes Everything

Last month I taught a class about ending unwanted habits, compulsions, and addictions based on the scientific the spiritual principles that freed me of my own binge eating disorder several years ago.  The basic principles are the same ones I write about here each week, and the ones around which my upcoming book on ending […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Perfect House (Which Rhymes with Spouse): A Poem by Sue Pettit

This poem was written by Sue Pettit and can be found in her beautiful little book of poetry called Coming Home. It is a perfect illustration of the simple truth that the only thing we’re ever experiencing is our own state of mind.   I’d been hunting for a house all day and nothing seemed quite right. […]

Your Best Thinking Got You Here

There is a popular saying in addiction recovery. Your best thinking got you here. You did what you did …you’re always doing what you’re doing…because it seemed like the thing to do in that moment. Your best thinking got you here. That doesn’t mean part of you didn’t know there was another way. When you […]

Insight #2: It’s All Thought

Another big insight that changed everything (the first one is here): It’s All Thought. Like A–L–L of it. That was the part that made a difference. Everyone knows that thought affects our experience. But that thought is the only thing we ever can experience…that’s a bit different. I also talk a bit more about the format […]

What is Said vs. What is Heard

People say what they say.  We hear what we hear. What is said and what is heard are usually two very different things. Here’s how it might go: Jack is telling Jill what he wants for dinner. Maybe Jack says, “Lasagna sounds good.” Maybe Jill hears, ”Make me lasagna.” Maybe Jack says, “Your lasagna was […]

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 […]

The One Source of All Human Experience

A few weeks ago a friend said something to me—when I was in the thick of some very heavy thinking—that resulted in a huge wave of comfort and relief.   He said, “…thoughts are an expression of universal energy, always fluctuating and finding the best course.” I understand that insights are as subjective as our […]

If I’m so Resourceful, Why Can’t I Figure out How to Feel Better?

The people I work with are smarter than your average bear. They are resourceful, bright, successful people. The other day, a man I find especially bright and resourceful (if I had a question about anything I’d ask this guy, knowing he could find the answer in a flash), told me he was looking for a […]

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 […]

10 Big Ideas About Ending Habits and Addictions

Everyone I’ve ever met has had some habit or addiction they’d like to kick for good. And nearly everyone I’ve ever met has lots of opinions on how to do that.  The 10 big ideas that follow are adaptations from the latest cutting-edge neuroscience research and some very powerful spiritual principles. This is the approach that […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

Don’t Solve Your Problems, Transcend Them

A wise, brave client just shared with me that the way she prays has changed.   Instead of praying for a solution to her problems as she has for the past 50 years, she’s recently found herself praying for a change in perspective. Instead of praying for the motivation to write her book because that […]

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 […]

Your Communication Style is Never the Problem

People sometimes contact me for help with “communication problems”. They typically claim that their communication is being misunderstood by the people in their life, and they want to me to teach them to communicate more effectively. Or they say their relationships are suffering from poor communication but they haven’t the foggiest idea how to communicate […]

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 […]

Leaving Yourself Behind

Life is full of surprises when you show up somewhere and leave yourself behind. I used to believe that I didn’t enjoy walking outside in the winter. I thought it was miserable, actually. I go for outdoor walks nearly every day from April through November. But come December, I’d pack my walking shoes away until […]

Podcast: The Voice in Your Head

“We are dying from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything. Think. Think. Think. You can never trust the human mind anyway. It’s a death trap.” ~Sir Anthony Hopkins I have a special treat for you-my voice! Okay, my voice may not be all that special but I thought you might get […]

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 […]

Just Tell Me What to Do, and I’ll Do It

As much as we may say we want the freedom to do as we choose, it often looks easier to be told what to do. “Just tell me”, they say, “should I apologize or not?” “Is it okay that my spouse and I fight, or does that mean something is wrong with our relationship?” “What’s […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

“Making up” your Mind. And Allowing it to Change.

There’s nothing more attractive than a mind that’s willing to change. Because think about it—a mind that is fluid and moving, not dug in, entrenched or made up, is a guarantee that your experience is going to change. It’s a promise that you won’t stay upset for long, that things are always changing, and that […]

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 […]

Decisions, decisions

It’s pretty amazing what people do because they think it will give them a better life.  They wake up insanely early and go to bed insanely late. They go to college, they set goals. They work hard or they refuse to work hard. They decide to be ambitious. They get married or they stay single; […]

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 […]

Make the Most of Anything

Time moves. Quickly. Quite unfairly, it often appears to speed up the older you are. But there is a way to combat that time-fly that doesn’t involve a time machine. It’s being fully in your life today. Moving right in, inhabiting your moments and experiences. Here’s an easy rule of thumb: Experiencing your thinking about […]

Do you need to heal your past?

Do you think there is something from your past that needs to be healed? I used to believe that the past required healing. But when you think about it, how could that be? The past is over. It’s nonexistent today. How could something that doesn’t exist need anything? The past only comes up today in […]

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.

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 […]

Showing Up Dumb

It’s endlessly fascinating to me to notice the filter of thought that floats over the screen of my awareness. So much of that thick thought filter is a) Basically the same as yesterday b) Based on something that happened in the past, or c) Stemming from beliefs I formed long ago that most likely aren’t […]

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 […]

Why outside-in seems so compelling (and why it’s actually only superstition)

I had a fascinating experience this morning. I felt really good. I was totally tapped into a nice, healthy dose of inner peace. I felt a profound sense of connection—people and nature looked radiant in a way they rarely do. My always delicious coffee was off-the-charts delicious today. The Illusion Almost immediately, and even though […]

How to never feel resentment again

Clients try to convince me that resentment naturally builds in relationships over time. They say so as if it’s a given. It’s not. George Pransky’s book The Relationship Handbook taught me the one, simple thing that leads to—and away from—resentment. When you focus on yourself and how their behavior affected you, you feel resentment. When […]

The problem with problem solving

The problem with problem solving is that most of our problems are figments of our imagination. That doesn’t mean the conditions we label “problem” aren’t real, it just means that the label… “problem”… is only your personal take on those conditions.   Here’s an example. If your friend is taking advantage of you, that may […]

Life with no memory

I heard a story about a guy who had no long-term memory and very little short-term memory. He kept a journal. By the time he wrote in his journal each night, he had pretty much forgotten everything that had happened that day. He was living in a perpetual state of present moment awareness. As it […]

Here’s how to change your brain

As you’ve no doubt noticed, I talk a lot about thought. We are not our thoughts. Our thoughts are not us. Thought is habitual and über subjective. How to detach from thought. The value in observing thought without judgment. You get the picture. Aside from the amazing freedom you find when you stop taking all […]

A story about presence: Traveling with my kids

Traveling with children is totally enlightening. I live largely in my thinking. This is my experience: Thinking… “We have three, maybe four hours between wake up time and time for Miller’s first nap.  Two to three hours once you factor in breakfast and baths. What should we do? We should go to the beach. Will […]

What’s best vs. what you think is best

The two S’s: Suffering and Stuck. When you feel either, there is an excellent chance that you are holding on to something you think is best for you, but it’s not. That dream you say is yours (the career you grew up knowing you’d choose, the hobbies and lifestyle you think you’re supposed to have)…it’s […]

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 […]

Yes, you can change the past.

I know for sure that the past can change. Your experience of life—past, present, future—comes from what you are thinking in any given moment. In the world of form…where things are solid and objective events go down in the books, I suppose the past is not easily changed. But in the world of experience (which, […]

What to “do” with your scariest thoughts

I got up to change the baby’s diaper last night and when I came back to bed, something seemed off about my husband. He seemed to be sleeping unusually still. I couldn’t hear or see him breathing.  My mind immediately raced to what life would be like if he were dead. Read the rest on […]

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 […]

The simple analogy that might change everything

When you have a scary thought, it’s really no different than having a nightmare. Even after a horrible nightmare, when you wake up and realize it’s not real, the emotion begins to fade pretty quickly. There might be some lingering emotion into the morning, but rarely much. “It was just a nightmare, it’s not real” […]

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 […]

Are you doing what’s normal or what’s natural?

I have a beautiful new client who wants to feel better. She has a lot of circumstances in her life that no one would wish for. Because of those circumstances, her well-meaning friends expect her to be in constant misery. Her dear, benevolent friends believe that happiness and peace of mind come from the outside-in. […]

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 […]

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 […]

Are you messing it up, or do you just not know any better?

I love studying the science of happiness, ways to help people out of pain and how to maximize success, whatever that looks like for you.  But there is a down side to all of this self-help. Besides the fact that it can be taken to imply that you need “help” (which you don’t, btw), teaching […]

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 […]

Do you know your life purpose?

Here’s a question for you: Do you believe we all have a life purpose? Something we’re meant to be doing in the world? Now answer this: How does that feel? My guess is that how it feels depends on whether you believe you’re living yours or not. When you believe we all have a life […]

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 […]

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, […]

How to be more consistent

A client recently asked for some motivation. Specifically, she wanted to be motivated to consistently take some actions that she was currently being inconsistent about. Even more specific…how ‘bout I just tell you exactly what she said? Client: “I exercise sporadically, I make efforts towards finding a new job sporadically, I take care of my […]

How You are Using your Creative Super-Powers Against Yourself

My clients are sooo creative. They are inventors, and authors, and incredible artists. They are experts at using metaphor and rich, visual imagery to tell the most detailed and believable stories. What’s really impressive is they don’t even realize they are doing it. One client recently told me that her student loan debt was a […]

The Importance of an Empty Future

What’s in your future? Hopefully, not much. When your future is empty—as in wide open, blue ocean, blank slate—you’re sitting pretty to put whatever you want there. Most of us do not have an empty future. Most of us have a jam-packed future. Do you know what it’s full of? The past. We drag all […]

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 […]

A new form of suffering-repellent

I’ve found a practice that is suffering-repellent. Be like water. That’s how Wayne Dyer puts it. DO be fluid and easy and fill in the cracks; DON’T be firm and rigid and unyielding. Yield. Don’t concretize and solidify your thoughts. That’s how Pema Chodron puts it.  Soften around your thoughts, don’t harden around them. Be […]

The whole picture? Or mentally myopic?

Things often seem really dire when you’re up close.  Like when you’re pregnant and sweaty and starving and you think your husband looked a little too long at a hot, un-pregnant woman on the street. When you accuse him of not loving you anymore, you’re looking at the situation a little too close up.  Just […]

All anxiety is just one thing

I’m beginning to think all anxiety in life comes from wanting to control things.  Me and anxiety are pretty tight. I’ve been on all sides: coaching hundreds of people through it, coaching myself through it, and before all that, being home-bound and debilitated from it. And my decades of “research” are pointing to one single […]

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