Amanda Johnson

Love the life you have and have the life you want


Leave a comment

Notice the Small Stuff – Lesson #5

Evolution is a process. Life is a journey, not a destination. Transformation takes time. As I continue growing, changing, learning, evolving, I find that sometimes I “fall short” and need to be reminded of the lessons I am trying to learn and strategies to move me forward. This week I am going to share one “lesson” a day that has recently come in handy for me and might serve as a helpful reminder for others.

Take a moment to notice the small things.

17323-nature-close-up

When I find it hard to be in the moment or my thoughts get out of control or I just want to take a quick mental break, I find it is helpful to observe things around me. I take a moment to notice what I see, smell, feel, hear, taste. Often, I go through my day not stopping to notice the thousands of gifts and expressions of beauty that surround me. They may seem common or ordinary, and therefore I brush right over it. But pausing and being mindful of what I sense and observe, even for a brief second, can give my mind a break and allow me to live in this moment.

Take a moment right now to notice what is around you. What do you see, feel, hear, smell? Join the discussion by leaving a comment.


Leave a comment

Limitless Beliefs – Lesson #4

Evolution is a process. Life is a journey, not a destination. Transformation takes time. As I continue growing, changing, learning, evolving, I find that sometimes I “fall short” and need to be reminded of the lessons I am trying to learn and strategies to move me forward. This week I am going to share one “lesson” a day that has recently come in handy for me and might serve as a helpful reminder for others.

Who would I be without that thought?

fish_bowls1

There are countless times when I limit myself with my own beliefs. Instead of being true to myself in the moment, I find myself saying things like “I always go with the flow, so that wouldn’t bother me” or “I’m a person who really doesn’t like change – I need security and to feel comfortable.” When these sorts of thoughts cross my mind, I pause and ask myself gently, “Who would I be without that thought? How would I act if I didn’t believe it?” This helps me come back to being in the moment and respond in a very present and authentic way by not responding based on how I’ve done things in the past or how I think I should do something, but rather what feels right for me in that moment.

What limiting beliefs are you holding onto? Join the conversation by leaving a comment.


Leave a comment

Thank You for Sharing – Lesson #3

Evolution is a process. Life is a journey, not a destination. Transformation takes time. As I continue growing, changing, learning, evolving, I find that sometimes I “fall short” and need to be reminded of the lessons I am trying to learn and strategies to move me forward. This week I am going to share one “lesson” a day that has recently come in handy for me and might serve as a helpful reminder for others.

I thank my inner voice for what it has to share.photo-62

Over the years, I have found that the voice(s) in my head can be very loud and convincing sometimes. I have spent much of my life listening to and dialoguing with these inner voices. You know, like when my mind (aka ego) says things like “he must not be telling me the truth,” “she doesn’t really mean that,” “he must have met someone else,” “he must not love me,” or a myriad of other thoughts formed from my own invention. When my mind starts to make-believe or say “what if,” I now simply acknowledge that voice by saying “thank you for sharing” rather than engaging with it or trying to argue with it or even stop it from occurring. I thank it for what it has to share and I move on with my day.

If you were to give your inner voice a name, what would it be? I have named mine “Magda.” Join the conversation by leaving a comment.


Leave a comment

Remember to Breathe – Lesson #2

Evolution is a process. Life is a journey, not a destination. Transformation takes time. As I continue growing, changing, learning, evolving, I find that sometimes I “fall short” and need to be reminded of the lessons I am trying to learn and strategies to move me forward. This week I am going to share one “lesson” a day that has recently come in handy for me and might serve as a helpful reminder for others.

Just breathe.

ISP2081435

When I find myself feeling anxious or stressed or impatient or angry or frustrated or annoyed, I breathe as many times as I need to while focusing on my breath to bring me back to the present moment, and to give myself a minute so that I respond instead of react. Taking the time to breathe creates the space for me to come from a more grounded, centered space and focus on the generative power of the life force contained within my body.

Can you recall a time when taking a few deep breaths provided you with the calm and centeredness you needed in that moment? Do you have another tool you use when needing to reground or refocus? Join the conversation by leaving a comment.


2 Comments

Lessons to Learn – Lesson #1

Evolution is a process. Life is a journey, not a destination. Transformation takes time. As I continue growing, changing, learning, evolving, I find that sometimes I “fall short” and need to be reminded of the lessons I am trying to learn and strategies to move me forward. This week I am going to share one “lesson” a day that has recently come in handy for me and might serve as a helpful reminder for others.

Every person has a lesson to learn and a lesson to teach.

lessons-to-learn_t_nt-1024x768

Those moments when I’m feeling judgmental or critical – and sometimes that is more often than I’d like to admit – a voice in my head gently reminds me that we are all doing the best that we can. This helps me remember that we are all at the place we need to be in this moment. We all experience pain and suffering, and we all want joy and happiness in our lives. And, I can learn a lesson from each and every person I meet, so long as I greet them with openness, curiosity and compassion.

What lesson have you learned or can you learn from someone you would have otherwise judged or criticized? Join the conversation by leaving a comment.


1 Comment

Stress Is a 10-Letter Word

Stress – or what Buddhists call dukkha – is a part of life. It is necessary and sometimes even beneficial. But we no longer only experience stress in life-or-death situations or in small healthy doses. We now create stress in our lives on a daily, if not hourly, basis. This unnecessary stress is wrecking havoc on our bodies, health and relationships. It’s cause? A simple 10-letter word: resistance. We can all end adventitious stress by accepting what is.Alphabet

I have spent the majority of my life uptight, stressed-out, anxious, and any other term that describes a person living with a constant stream of stress. When I realized that I was responsible for 90% of stress in my life, I was thrilled. When I learned that to end the suffering was as simple as accepting what is, I was elated. Now, when I sense a stressful reaction to something, I ask myself “am I resisting or accepting what is?” 9 times out of 10 I am resisting. Then, I take a few deep breaths and gently remind myself to accept the situation, and I notice my stressful reactions float away.

There is certainly a time and place for stress. It is a very useful (and even healthy) evolved trait when experienced in small doses. But nowadays we experience stress when we run late to a meeting, get stuck in traffic, have a bad hair day, lose an unsaved document from our computer, miss our connection due to a delayed flight, or a million other realities. Recall how your body feels or how you behave when resisting any of these situations. I get hot, frazzled, and irritable, my heart beats faster, and I might lash out at those around me. When I resist what is, I react in unhealthy, ineffective ways.

Let’s say I’m running late to an appointment. I resist the reality of the situation and begin to feel stress in my body. I run a red light (endangering me and others), I flip off and yell obscenities at a fellow driver, and I raise my voice at my boyfriend who is in the car with me. Now, let’s imagine I accept the fact that I am going to be late for my appointment. I calmly notify the person that I am running late, drive safely to my destination, apologize when I get there (if necessary) and make a mental note to try and leave earlier next time. I recognize that this is just one example that might not even cause stress in your life, but it goes to show how easy it can be to resist what is.

Acceptance does not generate apathy; acceptance generates peace. When I accept what is, it does not mean that I do not handle it or respond to it when necessary. It simply means that I create space for responding in a much more balanced and mindful way. Plus, I receive all of the health benefits associated with removing 90% of stress from my life.

Next time you start to feel stress reactions, ask yourself “am I resisting or accepting what is?” If you are resisting (which is most likely the case), take a few deep breaths, gently remind yourself it is what it is, and then create space to figure out how to most effectively respond to the situation (if necessary).

Can you recall a time (or consistence times) when you resisted what was and how you reacted as a result? Join the conversation by leaving a comment.