Amanda Johnson

Love the life you have and have the life you want

What to Do When Someone (Who Isn’t a Disney Princess) Says, “Let it Go”

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“Let it go! Let it go!!”

Not just the lyrics to any current 5-8 year old girl’s favorite Disney song. This is also a mantra of sorts for most adults.

The intention is all good, but sometimes the phrase itself can seem dismissive, flippant, or full-on aggravating.

I know for me, when someone says, “Just let it go,” I want to punch them in the face.

Okay. No, not really. That’s not at all my style. But you get my point. It can seem WAY easier said than done.

So, what does “let go” really mean and how do we go about doing it?

The question of learning to let go came up as a response to my survey and is a very common question as we are on this journey of awareness and awakening. (If you are curious to which survey I’m referencing, check it out here.)

In this video, I share my perspective on what “letting go” means to me and just how to go about doing it in a way that keeps most punching unnecessary. (Watch the video if you want to know why I didn’t say “all!”)

By redefining what “letting go” means we can redefine our relationship and experience with it. {Tweet that!}

Now it’s your turn. What is your favorite thing to do when you feel the need to “let it go?”

Hop on over to the blog to share your wisdom in the comments below this video! I absolutely love learning what works for others and your tip might be just the thing someone needs to hear today.

So many of us hear the phrase “let it go” so often—yet how many of us actually practice this in a way that is healthy and supports our expansion into deeper awareness? Please pass this along to anyone who rolls their eyes at or feels disenchanted when they hear “Let it go!” or who might benefit from learning just how to experience less frustration and more ease.

With gratitude …

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PS If you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign up here to receive my dirty little secrets to loving the life I have AND be the first to find out about an exciting announcement I’ll be making soon!

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3 Ways to Live a More Fearless Existence

Ah, fear.

That sickening feeling of not knowing what could happen. The paralysis of the body and mind. That which keeps us from exploring the unknown or living a fuller existence.

We all experience this very primal sensation. It is a biological firing of nerves and adrenaline we experience when our fight-or-flight goes off. Then, we get in our heads and label it “fear.” We allow this fear to limit us, make decisions for us and, more often than not, add an extreme amount of stress to our lives.

The good news? We don’t have to turn this biological sensation into anything more than an awareness to what is happening in the present moment. We can all live a more fearless existence by keeping a few things in mind.

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Part of being present is to remain non-judgmentally aware of one’s mind, body and life situation without attaching to any specific outcome. This can prove quite challenging when entering unchartered waters.

This year has been full of entering the unknown for me. First, I decided to quit my day job without any “plan B.” Then, I recently attended a development program in a different state from where I live and, while there, decided to return one week later to take another 10-week training program. This felt quite uncomfortable. I was relocating temporarily with very little time to plan or even think about what I was getting myself into.

I can definitely say that many times during this year I have experienced a sensation that I label as “fear.”

So, how do I practice presence in the face of all of this uncertainty and discomfort?

First of all, sometimes I don’t. But, I have noticed a significant increase in my ability to live with the discomfort and the fear. It helps me in these moments to keep a few things in mind.

Remember that fear is not reality-based.

The sensation we often label as “fear” is more often than not a lack of information. We then find ourselves feeling anxious about what might or might not happen in the future which keeps us out of reality. Everything happens in the present moment — nothing happens in the past or future.

“The psychological condition of fear is divorced from any concrete and true immediate danger. It comes in many forms: unease, worry, anxiety, nervousness, tension, dread, phobia, and so on. This kind of psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now.”

It’s helpful to take the time to shift our focus to remain open and take in as much information as possible in each moment instead of worrying about the non-reality of the future.

Ask: What’s the worst thing that can happen?

“The reason why you don’t put your hand in the fire is not because of fear, it’s because you know that you’ll get burned. You don’t need fear to avoid unnecessary danger — just a minimum of intelligence and common sense.” – Eckhart Tolle

When we are faced with something that we are unfamiliar with or do not know which way to go, we can ask ourselves, “what is the worst thing that can happen?” This helps ground us and bring us back to the reality of the situation and not get caught up in the endless scenarios of the mind.

Sometimes we may even be surprised that the worst thing isn’t really that bad after all.

Move through the fear.

Courage is not about doing something with the absence of fear but rather moving through it. Sometimes we experience a sensation in our bodies when we do not have enough information or a similar experience to draw upon from our past. But this is just a bodily sensation.

Moving through the fear means that we experience the physical sensation without labeling it or creating additional emotions or stressful thoughts around it. As Eckhart Tolle says, “You can always cope with the present moment, but you cannot cope with something that is only a mind projection — you cannot cope with the future.”

When we let fear drive our decision-making, we are putting our life in the hands of a non-reality based emotion that restricts us rather than expands us.

We limit ourselves when we allow our fears to go beyond the initial reaction. This can happen a lot when we are going to make decisions. And when we make fear-based decisions, we are saying “no” to life rather than “yes” to possibilities.

How do you let fear limit you? What are other ways you practice presence in the face of fear? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.


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Gratitude Rocks! Reasons to Jam Out

Life sucks.

My boss is a jerk.

This steak is overcooked.

Yes … there are plenty of things to complain about in this world. But there are also a ton of amazing (and not-so-amazing, quite ordinary) things that are worthy of our acknowledgment on a daily — if not hourly — basis.

Practicing gratitude has a number of benefits. And who wants to be a “Negative Nancy” all the time?

Curious what these benefits are and how to cultivate them on a regular basis?

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I admit, I have said many a negative thing in my life. But I don’t like the way I feel when I say those things. When those negative thoughts start to emerge — which they still do — I immediately try to interrupt them and ask “what are you grateful for?”

Then I list off three or five things that I am grateful for in this very moment.

It is amazing how much better I feel and how quickly those terrible things don’t seem so terrible anymore.

Expressing gratitude can sometimes slip our minds. But the benefits far outweigh the effort required to implement a regular gratitude practice.

There is a growing body of knowledge in this area led by highly esteemed researchers such as Robert Emmons, Ph.D. Check out some of the benefits found during this gratitude research.

  • In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
  • A related benefit was observed in the realm of personal goal attainment: Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.
  • daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison (ways in which participants thought they were better off than others). There was no difference in levels of unpleasant emotions reported in the three groups.
  • In a sample of adults with neuromuscular disease, a 21-day gratitude intervention resulted in greater amounts of high energy positive moods, a greater sense of feeling connected to others, more optimistic ratings of one’s life, and better sleep duration and sleep quality, relative to a control group.

“So, how do I go about doing this more often?” you might ask.

Establish a system that works for you. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Keep a gratitude journal and list a few things in it each day before going to bed that made you smile or that you were grateful for.
  • Participate in or create a gratitude challenge on Facebook with your friends to post 3 “grate” things on a daily basis.
  • Ask a friend to be your “Gratitude Buddy” and send each other one thing you are grateful for each day — not only does it reap the benefits, it helps you develop a deeper connection with a friend you might not otherwise connect with as often.
    Next time you find yourself saying something negative, try the gratitude treatment. I bet you’ll have an easier time finding things to be grateful for than having to complain about.

What are 3-5 things you are grateful for right now? Spread the gratitude bug by sharing your thoughts below.


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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?

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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.


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Life Is What Happens …

A friend shared this quote with me the other day: “I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.” (E.B. White) While living a present-focused life, it can sometimes seem difficult to both live each and every moment fully and not stress over the “to-do” list or plans yet to be made. I wanted to resolve this predicament — “How do I remain present and stress-free in those moments when what I am currently doing is not what I think I ‘should’ be doing?”

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Recently, I have found myself struggling with being in the moment and not feeling anxious over how I am spending my time, especially now that I have a new job and a new partner and my time is no longer just mine to do with as I please. When I mentioned this to a friend, she offered some great advice. She said, “Fully commit to the moment and the choice you made. Some part of you chose to be there even if it wasn’t what you had ‘planned’.” This simple advice immediately helped me get a perspective on things and alleviate the anxiety I was causing in myself.

There are times when we need to make plans or schedule our time in a specific way, and even having a plan or intention can be very useful in life. And, many of us have responsibilities that require us to make choices with how we spend our time. However, sometimes we get so caught up in the planning and what we “should” be doing that we miss the very moment we are currently experiencing. This focus on something other than the Now can cause stress, anxiety and, sometimes, resentment.

Most of us have heard the song where John Lennon reminds us of an Allen Saunders’ quote:

Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.

What recently clicked for me is that each moment we are making a choice — sometimes it is a choice we made to love someone or have a certain job or take a specific route to work one day or have children. Those choices might mean that we spend our time in some way other than how we want or think we “should.” Rather than feeling anxious about that, remain present and commit to the choice you make in each moment.

I learned a mantra recently that reminds us “by letting go, it all gets done.” Choosing not to commit to each moment is to resist what is. And, one truth I have discovered recently is that to resist causes suffering. Every person can feel less anxious and remain present by recognizing that each moment is a choice and committing to that choice 100%.

What do you do in those moments when you find yourself “should-ing” all over yourself to alleviate some of the stress or anxiety? Share your thoughts or tips by leaving a comment.