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‚ÄčThe Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode #23 - Dr.‚Äč Amy Johnson

‚ÄčAmy Johnson, PhD is a psychologist, coach, author, and speaker who shares a groundbreaking new approach that helps people find true, lasting freedom from unwanted habits via insight rather than willpower. She is author of Being Human (2013), and The Little Book of Big Change: The No-Willpower Approach to Breaking Any Habit (2016). In 2017 she opened The Little School of Big Change, an online school that has helped hundreds of people find freedom from anxiety and habits and live a more peaceful life.

Johnson has been a regularly featured expert on The Steve Harvey Show and Oprah.com, as well as in The Wall Street Journal and Self magazine. Learn more at www.DrAmyJohnson.com

‚Äč
LEARN MORE AT‚Äč:

‚Äčwww.DrAmyJohnson.com
https://www.facebook.com/DrAmyJohnson
www.instagram.com/dr.amy.johnson

SHOWNOTES

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‚ÄčGet The Little Book of Big Change ‚Äč: The No-Willpower Approach to Breaking ‚Äč

7:50 - Amy's Emotional And Health History: From Anxiety And Binging To Mindset Epiphany 

11:25 - The Search For Control And The Present Moment

12:30 - The Nature And Misconceptions Of "Experience" 

16:05 - The Problem With Labels For Health And Mental Conditions 

18:00 - The Experience Of Children

18:50 - The Brain's Search For Connections And The Stories We Tell Ourselves 

23:30 - Thought Vs. Experience: Why Things Stress Some People And Not Others 

28:15  - Inciting Incidents And Diagnoses 

30:00 - What Is the Benefit Of Rumination Patterns

34:20 - Behavior Habits Vs. Thought Habits

37:15 - What Do Habits Look Like In Our Brain?

40:05 - Is It Really That Simple?

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44:10 - FOOD SENSE GUIDEGet Melanie's App To Tackle Your Food Sensitivities! Food Sense Includes A Searchable Catalogue Of 300+ Foods, Revealing Their Gluten, FODMAP, Lectin, Histamine, Amine, Glutamate, Oxalate, Salicylate, Sulfite, And Thiol Status. Food Sense Also Includes Compound Overviews, Reactions To Look For, Lists Of Foods High And Low In Them, The Ability To Create Your Own Personal Lists, And More! 

The Roots Of Consciousness: We're Of 2 Minds

One Head, Two Brains

49:30 - Is Just Understanding Enough?

53:40 - Understanding Urges For Habit Change

58:00 - Intermittent Fasting And Urges 

1:01:25 - The Role Of Willpower 

1:08:00 - How To Practically Implement Habit Change?

1:11:45 - Will All Urges Go Away?

1:13:30 - How Our True Nature Is The Sky Not Weather

1:19:50- The Significance Of Moods

1:21:00 - Enroll In The Little School Of Big Change! 33% Off Through January 3rd, And Use The Code Avalon20 For An Additional 20% Off!! (After January 3rd, You Can Still Use The Code Avalon20 Off The Normal Rate)

1:22:45 - Does It Matter How Long You've Had A Habit? 

1:24:00 - "Actual" Conditions And Health Conditions 

1:26:00 - The Mind's Preference To Reverting To What It Knows

1:31:00 - What Is An Insight?

1:33:00 -  Should You Be Afraid Of Setbacks?

1:38:00 - Can Anyone Be At Peace?

Get The Introduction and Chapter 1 of The Little Book of Big Change

TRANSCRIPT

Melanie Avalon:
Hi friends, welcome back to the show. So, I am beyond thrilled to be here today with somebody I've been dying to talk to ever since I read her amazing book that listeners are probably familiar with because I talk about this book all the time, especially on the Intermittent Fasting podcast, but I'm here with Amy Johnson, Ph.D. 

Melanie Avalon:
She is a psychologist, coach, author and speaker and she has a groundbreaking approach and honestly, paradigm shifting perspective of how habits work in our body and how we can really get freedom from them, and I was going to say, embrace willpower, but we'll talk about. It's just really a revolutionary shift in changing our, really habits and things that can really burden us and bring us down and we can really make change for the better.

Melanie Avalon:
That book, that I talk about all the time, it is the Little Book of Big Change, the No Willpower Approach to Breaking Any Habit. So, Amy, or Dr. Johnson, thank you so much for being here today.

Amy Johnson:
Thank you so much for having me Melanie and call me Amy please.

Melanie Avalon:
Oh thank you. You can call me Melanie, obviously. So, your book, and I was just telling you this before the call, so, I've read a lot of books on habits because most of us, I think, struggle with habits or behaviors, to different extents, they might be really intense and really debilitating in somebody's life, or they might just be small things, but I think all of us do struggle with behaviors that we would rather not have. 

Melanie Avalon:
So, I feel like I've read so many books and it wasn't until I read the Little Book of Big Change that so many things clicked for me. And, ever since then, I've just been talking about it left and right. If you have any habit that you want to address, or urges, which we'll talk about, check out this book. So, first of all, just thank you so much for your work. It is amazing. 

Amy Johnson:
Oh, that's awesome to hear. I'm so glad. 

Melanie Avalon:
Well, so I thought to start things off, so you have a very interesting and relatable history as to why you came to this whole habit world. Would you like to tell listeners a little bit about your personal diet and health history and how that led to where you are today?

Amy Johnson:
Sure. Let's see. So I, even before diet and health, I experienced a lot of anxiety as a young person, starting from the time I was really young, like a little kid. And, I didn't really know what it was as you wouldn't if you're six or seven, and it changed forms and shapes over the years, and the symptoms changed. The way it showed up changed, that I just never felt well and was worried a lot and all that good stuff.

Amy Johnson:
And so, at some point, it turned into panic attacks and at some point, the panic attacks started to subside, and I found myself really obsessed with food and weight loss and not even food from a healthy perspective, but I just gave my mind something to settle in on. If I could count things and restrict things and give myself goals that didn't mean anything, it was some way that I felt, anyway at the time, I could keep the anxiety at bay.

Amy Johnson:
Now of course, I didn't really know that at the time, so what happened is I just started really restricting and trying to be "healthy," and then my brain said, "No, we're not doing this," and so I started binge eating, because I hadn't eaten in forever and just what a brain would do to find that balance and that homeostasis. I went too far in the other direction.

Amy Johnson:
And, at the time, I just was like, "Okay, I'm sick. I have all these diagnoses. This is a problem. There's nothing good about this. This just shows my weakness." It didn't occur to me then that it had anything to do really, and this is crazy because I was a psychologist at the time, or studying to be one, but it didn't really even occur to me that this had anything to do with the anxiety or anything like that, or that there was much deeper of a place to look. 

Amy Johnson:
It just looked like, wow, now I have this bulimia type thing and it's got a hold on me and I'm a victim to it and I need to just work my butt off to get it to go away. And, I didn't really know how to do that. I did every kind of self help and spiritual and psychological and all of that thing I could get my hands on. I tried it with the right foods and diet and all that, and that never worked and what I really started seeing is, wow, the more I push, no matter what that looked like, the more I pushed for the perfect diet, the perfect exercise plan, the perfect mantras, whatever, the worse it got, all the time. 

Amy Johnson:
And so, that was me for a while, several years, and then I came across this understanding that I wrote about and that we can talk about that was just completely changed all of it. It turned everything I'd been doing completely on its head and showed me a totally different place to look. And, within really quickly, I don't even remember at this point, but weeks, months, I knew right away when I came across what we'll talk about, that I wasn't going to be in this eating issue for much longer.

Amy Johnson:
It didn't fall away instantly, but I knew. It automatically looked different and I knew, okay, I'm going to be free of this. Whereas, literally, the previous week, I thought I'm going to have this my whole life. So, that alone was pretty huge. Yeah, so it just got me looking more and more in this direction and then eventually sharing it. 

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, I think a few things that you touched on that I really related to and I think listeners will as well, especially on the Intermittent Fasting podcast, we get so many questions about things that you just spoke about as far as weight loss and weight gain, and this really intense search for control. When you were talking about the scale number, I think so many people, we weight ourselves and like you were saying, it's an arbitrary number. It doesn't mean anything. 

Melanie Avalon:
And yet, it's just this grasp to have some sort of control in life and deal with an underlying issue that could better be likely addressed some other way. And then the other thing I was really relating to, and you talk about this in your book was, trying all these different modalities and seeing different therapists. 

Melanie Avalon:
Maybe it's about your past and maybe it's about this, and maybe it's about that, when really maybe there is a solution in the present moment, and I'm so excited to talk about, that doesn't even require engaging in all of that, even though that may play a part, which we can discuss. So, I feel like we've been teasing it a lot, so what was this paradigm shift that you had when it comes to what was the root cause at least, in perpetuating that anxiety and that behavior, that you wanted to be free of?

Amy Johnson:
Yeah. Well, so I talk about this all day every day and have for years now and it's still really hard to talk about, so I'll just say, we'll talk. We'll talk and we'll uncover it. But, just for people listening, especially if you're new to this, don't try to grasp this with your mind as a strategy or the next approach or what is the paradigm here or anything. Just listen casually because I think that's how it tends to land best.

Amy Johnson:
But essentially, from right now today, when I look back and remember it from today, I saw a couple major things. One, everything previous was, like I mention, okay, I have anxiety. I have a problem. I'm not okay. There's something wrong that needs to be fixed. Now, many people who, especially get a little obsessive around food and diet have, like you said, it's not even a thing we have, but our mind tends to me more a little controlling, maybe a little perfectionist, maybe runs a little hot, I say, like a car that runs hot, like our mind might run hot a little bit.

Amy Johnson:
And then, it's not about food. That's not about actually even about control, but when our mind is running hot and trying to nail everything down and make everything perfect and controlled, it'll grab anything it sees, and food just happens to be one of those things.

Amy Johnson:
So, one of the things I saw, was that this anxiety thing that was such a problem, it was such a flaw, and then this eating disorder thing that looked like such a solid thing and was such a problem, it sounds crazy, but I really saw, wow, that's not a problem I need to go out and fix. These diagnoses, these issues, even my experience, what I ate yesterday, how I feel, none of this stable thing that's fixed that has anything to do with who we are, that means anything in and of itself, until we start to look at it that way and then give it a bunch of meaning.

Amy Johnson:
So in other words, if we could slow it down or look at it in a different way, it was very easy obviously to say, "Yes, clearly I meet the criteria for a panic disorder and anxiety and bulimia and whatever," because when you look at that really big high level, when you say, "Okay, how many times did you do this last week or feel this last month or whatever, sure." You fit in all kinds of, you check all kinds of boxes and you can put all kinds of labels on all of us. 

Amy Johnson:
But, moment to moment, I was just feeling stuff as we are, all of us, always. And, what really created the problem, if we want to call it that, the issue, was that in those moments, the stuff I was feeling, I was basically misunderstanding. I thought it was all about me and my issues and addictions and problems and I thought it all meant something and what I really started to see is that it doesn't. 

Amy Johnson:
It's experience that moves through us. And again, by it, I mean everything. Every thought, every feeling, every behavior, all of our psychology is this human experience that we're all flooded with for our entire lives and it isn't as it appears. It isn't as personal or stable or meaningful as it appears to be.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, I think that is such a radical shift in thinking. Do you think then, if we never had these labels, anxiety, depression, eating disorder, all these diagnoses that we're faced with, do you think ... I don't want to say that these conditions wouldn't exist, but do you think things would look completely different as far as people in society seemingly dealing with these issues, if we never had given a name to them?

Amy Johnson:
Totally. And so, that doesn't mean that the labels and names are all bad and we shouldn't use them or anything like that, but I think what you're pointing to is really big, that if we didn't have a memory, let's say, and thank God we do. But, if we didn't have a memory ... for me, I can remember this in my binge eating days so clearly. If I could just wake up with amnesia, I'd just be there in the moment in my bed in a brand new day, just in life. 

Amy Johnson:
But, I didn't wake up with amnesia. I woke up thinking about every single thing that I'd eaten the day before. I woke up thinking about how I was going to go weigh myself and what I was going to eat that day and there's absolutely no question, that's what created all of my suffering. How could it not? That was it. That was the only problem. Otherwise, I was just a woman waking up in her bed.

Amy Johnson:
So, memory is huge and then, yes, these labels and again I'm not saying they're all bad. They have some great, we need them in some way, but there's a lot we can understand about them, but without this, oh here's who I am, I'm a person with this issue. I shouldn't feel this way. This is a bad thing. 

Amy Johnson:
If we didn't have all that, we would just be feeling life and it would just be coming and going as it does, all by itself, all the time, and we would just be in this flow of life. We would look very much like children, who they don't care if they're in a bad mood or a good mood. They might care, I'm sure they'd prefer to be in a good mood, but they don't tell a story of, oh, look at my mood this morning. I sure hope there's nothing wrong with me. They're just in life.

Amy Johnson:
They feel everything and they feel it in huge ways as we know, and it just moves right through them. And, we look at them and say, "Wow, that kid, they're so resilient. They're so lucky." We have the exact same design. We don't outgrow that, but the difference is, come to what you're saying, it's our memory, our labels, all the meaning. Our adult mind makes that stuff up, and it's been fed to us by society, obviously, too. 

Amy Johnson:
It's made up. It's essentially made up. And, when we cling to it and don't realize it's made up and treat those concepts and all those labels as if they're real, it totally creates what we're talking. 

Melanie Avalon:
Oh my goodness Amy, so I personally struggle with a lot of digestive issue and IBS and then just the brain in my head trying to make all these connections, oh I ate this so it created this. Or, maybe if I eat this this way and then it'll do this. I can't tell you how many times I've said to myself and to other people, I'm like, "If I could just forget everything that I knew, everything that I read about what will digest, what won't digest, everything I've been told about what may or may not be happening in my digestive tract, I honestly think my IBS would be gone tomorrow."

Melanie Avalon:
I know that sounds crazy, but it's just so powerful what you were saying, these stories that we tell ourselves and how it just perpetuates so many things. You just talked about ... so do we truly wake up to a blank slate like you said? Is all of the things that stay with us, is it really just in our memory, in our brain, or ... I guess what I'm asking is, do you really think there is the potential in any moment for it to be a blank slate, or are there things so embedded that we just can't escape them regardless?

Amy Johnson:
That's a great question. So, as you were saying that about your IBS, here's the thing. I agree with you. I think if you had no memory and no ... it's like your symptoms, let's not even call it IBS. If the stuff you feel in your body, the sensations that happen in your body that you experience were neutral, if they just were, like oh, this is happening, that's happening, if it wasn't like it shouldn't be and this hurts and I don't like it and all the stories and all the fix-its and all that weren't there, you would just be, either way, you're just in this fluid flow of experience moving through you, but it doesn't feel fluid and it doesn't change that often because your mind is in there giving it all the judgment. Should and shouldn't and all that, and then we focus on it and blah, blah, blah.

Amy Johnson:
So, without all that, I think we'd still feel stuff, obviously. Things would happen and physically, it's just the machine of your body would do whatever it needs to do, but your experience would be 100% different and the thing that is there beyond the labels and evaluation and the judgment, is what I usually just call wisdom, but we can call it whatever we want. But, just even in the physical, let's say, the form of our body, we're not even talking of anything spiritual or anything yet, just in the form of our body. 

Amy Johnson:
It's just full of intelligence. It's mind boggling, mind blowing how much intelligence is built in to just our body and how much natural, this natural inclination for it to just fix itself and get through things and move forward and evolve and expand. And, the same is true of our mind. There's so much wisdom baked into that. So, you might wake up and not have all this thinking about what IBS is and what you should do and all that stuff, and you'd feel something and there would be something else there. It's called wisdom

Amy Johnson:
It's something much deeper than your psychology and your intellect that naturally, all the time, even now, moves you towards certain things and away from certain things. So, we're being guided through life by the intelligence that is us, by our essence that is us. And then, we also have these minds that are full of the memory and the judgment and all that, and they're wonderful. 

Amy Johnson:
I'm never, ever saying anything bad about the intellect, but it should be secondary. It's me. It's designed to supplement the intuition and the wisdom and all those natural instincts. But unfortunately, we've grown up in a society that favors the intellect above everything else. So, that's where our mind says, "Oh, I'll take care of this. I'll get myself out of this mess." 

Amy Johnson:
And, that's what I saw, after all those years of everything I tried, ironically, got me deeper into it, and it was just so frustrating, because it's like, wait a minute. I'm smart. I'm resourceful this shouldn't be so hard, but it's because we're handing it off to that wrong tool. We're giving it to our intellect rather than seeing that we have all this innate health and wisdom that's there beneath our intellect, beneath our psychology. I don't know if that's a direct answer to your question, but it's a great, I think it points to what you're talking about. 

Amy Johnson:
There is something beyond our psychology, and we don't need to make our lives or our health work. Oh my gosh. They're good on their own. If anything, us and our minds and our psychology and memories and all that tend to get in the way more than they are necessary.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah. You're speaking to this difference between thought and experience and it's ironic because I feel like we're using our prefrontal cortex right now and we're discussing it intellectually. So, why do you think ... because you were talking about experiencing something and attaching, it could just be neutral.

Melanie Avalon:
We don't have to attach any judgment to it or any meaning to it. We could just experience it. I've been thinking a lot about that recently, especially just how things I may experience that really bother or distress me, another person could experience that same sensation and it wouldn't bother or distress them. I often think about things like being in traffic for example, doesn't bother me at all.

Melanie Avalon:
I'm like, oh, I can listen to a podcast. It really doesn't bother me. My mom, on the other hand, it drives her crazy and she freaks out and I'm just like, "Mom, cam down." But then, I could be in a situation that personally distresses me, like having maybe some digestion issues, and that distresses me so bad, whereas another person might have GI issues and be completely fine, not distressed by it. 

Melanie Avalon:
So, I guess in the ideal world, with what you're saying, we've reached this place where we can just experience anything and it would be just an experience. Why do you think for certain people certain things become so distressing and do get these stories and do turn into this rumination, but they don't for other people? Is there reason for that?

Amy Johnson:
There is. So, first of all, we all have stuff that is full of meaning and drives us crazy. And, on the flip side, that we get super happy and excited about. We all have that and like you're saying, it's different for everyone. And, I love, even just that really simple example of traffic. It really helps us see, even though we deeply know this, but we're so caught up in just the conditioning of ow everybody else thinks and how we talk, that obviously, nothing is inherently anything.

Amy Johnson:
So, traffic is not inherently stressful or troublesome in the least. You have a blast in traffic if you have a good podcast. There's nothing wrong with it. Same with any kind of digestive issues. Some of these get a little harder for people to see. Same with death. Same with losing your job. There's nothing inherent in anything. 

Amy Johnson:
So, I don't want to say that to people, I don't know. I want to put that out, everyone listening, see what you see in that, but that's just how I see it. There's nothing inherent in anything. All of the meaning, judgment, evaluation in literally every single aspect of every moment of everyone's life is coming from our own mind, from our own personal use of, our personal thinking. 

Amy Johnson:
Now, we all have a mind that works in pretty much the same way, so the purpose of the mind in part is to tell stories, is to give meaning, is to put things on a linear timeline. It wants to know what comes first, second and third and what's going to happen in the future and it wants to remind you what happened in the past. It's just how a mind works.

Amy Johnson:
I love, I want to write a whole book about that. It's just how the mind works because when we can start to see, oh, this is why I get so caught up here, but not over there, or this is why this pushes my buttons or brings me all this fear and then these other things don't, we can just relax around it and we start to even think it's cute and funny and amusing sometimes, like wow, this thing really triggers me. Isn't that interesting. 

Amy Johnson:
It's not personal. It doesn't mean anything. It's just that we have a mind and our mind is not just going to sit back. It's all about story telling and we are at the center of all of those stories. So, I'm sure everyone's noticed, you are the center of the universe according to your own mind, which is what you hear all day, every day. The whole world revolves around each one of us in our own heads. It's just the way it works.

Amy Johnson:
So, everything that people do, shoot, like the weather, everything, it's all got something to do with us, and that's just because we have a mind that narrates everything with us at the center of that story. So, when you're talking about things like your GI issues that really get to you, there's so much old thinking you have about what it means and, I'm making this up obviously, but how it might limit or how it should be or whatever, and it doesn't have to be all consciously in your head in any moment. Your mind just holds onto it and you're in the middle of that story.

Amy Johnson:
And so, when something comes in that doesn't fit well with that story, it's this giant punch in the gut to your mind. And then, we get all up in arms about it, and other things just flow right through.

Melanie Avalon:
So, does it require an inciting incident for something to become distressing, I guessing? Does it require at some point that we attached a story to it that this is a bad thing, or this means this, or is that why, with chronic health issues, when you receive the diagnosis from a doctor, you have this thing. You have this thing. Maybe people get so stuck in this rut because they attached a label to it? Is it the language part of the brain that is making these issues, issues?

Amy Johnson:
Yes. All of our issues are due to that, are due to the words and the verbal part of our brain that just wants to tell stories about things. Absolutely. 

Melanie Avalon:
So, if we had no language-

Amy Johnson:
Yeah, no, totally. And, I tell my clients that all the time. When somebody's mind is just racing and all this stuff, I'm like, "You know, if all that stuff in your head ... your head could be doing the exact same thing it's doing," but if it was saying all that in Mandarin or, I like to channel Charlie Brown's teacher.

Amy Johnson:
So, if everything in your head was like, wah, wah, wah, you wouldn't be offended by it. You wouldn't be affected by it. It'd just be like, whoa, that's a lot of noise in there. And, that's what I'm talking about with kids. That's why I love looking back to children as an example of this, is they don't have, even just brain wise, they don't have that part of the brain as well formulated, but definitely they haven't learned ye to make meaning of everything. Their mind just doesn't go there. So, they still feel all kinds of stuff. They'll have their temper tantrum and the floor target, and they're not embarrassed. 

Amy Johnson:
They just get up and move on with their life. But, we with all the words and the labels and judgments, we tell stories and that's exactly why that stuff sticks with us. 

Melanie Avalon:
That's so incredible, so incredible. And, you can correct me if I'm wrong, but it's my understanding that in theory, everything our brain does has a protective mechanism. I feel like our thoughts happen and we do the things we do in an attempt to make ourselves better or protect ourselves or learn from something so that something negative doesn't happen again. If that's the case, what is the, from an evolutionary perspective, the benefit of these ruminations or these patterns that we get into that seem to not be serving us that we can seem to break free from?

Amy Johnson:
Yeah, that's a great question and it's one a lot of people ask, especially around rumination and anxiety and worry. What the heck? If this doesn't have any real purpose for me right now, why is it happening? And, I think you're right, that on some level, there's definitely a purpose to all of that. 

Amy Johnson:
But, if we want to look at it really big, the mind's and definitely the brain's ultimate purpose is just keep us alive. So, it's designed being very attracted to habits because it has habits like beating our heart and breathing our lungs that it needs to have in order to do its ultimate job, which is to keep us alive.

Amy Johnson:
So, just on a brain level, people talk about the lower brain and how it's all about survival. It has to be efficient. It has to work for us for hopefully up to 100 years. And so, it doesn't have all the energy, it has energy, but it needs to be efficient and keep us alive. And so, it just wants to turn things into habits. 

Amy Johnson:
And so, our mind in a similar way, again, just hold this loosely. I'm not a brain scientist and I don't think it's that important to distinguish mind from brain and any kind of definitions. But, everybody knows, there's a brain that's an organ. There's a mind that talks to us all the time. 

Amy Johnson:
So, the mind's purpose, I think, as far as I can see, is to secure some sense of identity. Again, to keep us alive basically, but it's not really keeping us alive so much as it's telling these stories. It thinks it's keeping us alive, and it's got us in the center of the story. So, there's an Amy. There's a Melanie. These characters are real and there's all kinds of features of them and the mind has to relate everything to these characters of Amy and Melanie and make sure they're happy and they get what they want so that they can feel good in life and all of that stuff, and it's so complicated.

Amy Johnson:
So, in a big picture way, our mind just tells stories and puts everything in some kind of timeline and tries to find some logic in things. And, I think what happens is, we get really caught up in that again, when we don't understand that that's just what our mind does. We believe it, obviously. It's in our own head. It's talking about us. 

Amy Johnson:
So, we get very tied up in that as if it's reality, as if our mind, our narrator is actually telling us about life. And then, certain things, again, when it feels like it threatens our survival in some way or threatens our happiness, we just pay a lot of attention to that, like oh no, what if I do get sick? What if I can't work? What if this happens? What if that happens?

Amy Johnson:
And just again, because the brain is all about habits and paying attention and fight or flight, when we start to get really worried about something and we give it a ton of attention, duh, it just comes back a lot more. It just does. And then, what happens? Because we misunderstand it, we're like, oh, it keeps coming back. Look, this has been here forever. This thought just won't leave me alone, and we think it's even more valid for that reason. 

Amy Johnson:
So, does that make sense? It's hard to wrap your head around this, but just see the job of the brain and the mind are just to be in service of our survival, and for the mind, it's really in service of what we think we need in order to survive and be happy and all of that kind of stuff as human beings.

Amy Johnson:
And so, in that way, they'll just grab onto things, especially things that do scare us or that we've paid a lot of attention to and it just runs away with those, which is not inherently a problem if we understand how it works. But, because we tend to not understand how it works because no one told us, we get really caught up in it. 

Melanie Avalon:
I am so glad that you tied it into the habit concept, which obviously is inevitable, given your perspective of this that you're relating because one thing that you were talking about in the book was the difference between "behavior habits," and then "thought habits." And, I think people often ... behavior habits seem obviously, like oh, I have this bad habit I want to break. 

Melanie Avalon:
It's this thing I'm doing. It's a habit. But then, the thought habits, you were talking about, the mental chatter and things like that that we have, more like we were talking about in the beginning with anxiety and ruminations, and things like that, so, are those actually all in the same category? Are they all habits? If so, do they also have the same root of the brain just trying to take care of Amy, take care of Melanie?

Amy Johnson:
Yeah. I don't really see ... at the level we're used to looking at them, we could call them all different and that's what most people do in an old school way of looking at things, like, oh rumination is different than bulimia, then it's different than worry. But, what we're looking at when we call them all different names, is we're just looking at the really superficial part of it, of how it shows up in the world and who cares, because how it shows up in the world is, so you either ate or you didn't eat, or you sat and worried.

Amy Johnson:
Well, that just comes and goes. It's just the momentary expression of it. Again, it doesn't feel like that because we're used to looking at that as the thing that matters, and giving it all kinds of meaning. But, if it doesn't inherently have that meaning, if it's like, oh, I did this, I thought that. I felt this, and it doesn't mean anything about us and it's always in motion, it's always moving, it's always changing, then how it shows up in the world just isn't all that important in the big picture. 

Amy Johnson:
But, what's going on beneath the surface, behind the scenes, like you said, they're all exactly the same because whether you hoard or shop or binge eat or worry or feel depressed or any of that, what's going on is your mind is telling you some stuff and you're caught up in it. You're identified with it. You think it's about you. That's the basis of all of this, is we misunderstand and get misidentified with our experience.

Melanie Avalon:
So, that's really exciting, actually, especially for listeners. So basically, almost any "issue," and I almost don't even want to give labels to anything now, but anything you may be experiencing that doesn't seem to be benefiting you as far as these thought patterns go, having this ne perspective, there's so much potential for changing how you engage with that, which is so amazing and one of the reasons I'm so obsessed with your book.

Melanie Avalon:
Okay, so making things a little bit more practical or more, what does this actually look like? So, going to "habits," what do they look like in our brain? When we experience a habit, how does that actually happen in our brain? How are we experiencing that and how can we take note of how we're experiencing that so we can ultimately engage with it differently?

Amy Johnson:
Yeah. Let's start off really huge and see that all experience ... so when I say experience, let's just say it's thought, feeling, behavior. It's anything, it's experience. It's anything that we ... it's our psychological experience. We smell something, that's an experience. It's just what's coming to life for us in any given moment. 

Amy Johnson:
If we look at that and say okay, all day, every day, our entire lives, from the minute we're born to the minute we die we have this constant flow of brand new experience. Now, it doesn't seem like it's brand new. I know when we feel like we're stuck in something, but even in a five minute panic attack or a 10 minute binge or something, your experience is changing. There's new thoughts, new feelings. 

Amy Johnson:
Everything's always in motion, always fluid. So, I think it's really helpful to just look really huge and just almost stop there and say, "Hey, all of our experience works in the same way." Just like you're saying, "Oh wait a minute, I don't think it makes sense to call out a behavioral habit versus a thought habit versus a feeling habit." You're right. It really doesn't.

Amy Johnson:
And, it also doesn't really makes sense on some level to call out a habit versus something else that we experience. If we look at it, I hope this makes sense, if we look at it just moment, to moment, to moment in life, we are just feeling stuff. That thing, like we said about your IBS and my former bulimia, if the thing that makes that a thing for us is this giant label and all this thinking we have attached to it, it's not the experience that's moving through us. 

Amy Johnson:
It's not the sensations and the feelings and all. That just moves through us. That's what it wants to do anyway, and that's what it does. But, it's when we come in and give it meaning and think it means something and think it's about us and then we're trying to change it, that we experience it as recurring and haunting us and being a flaw and all of that. 

Amy Johnson:
So, I'll stop there and we can see, but it's kind of mind blowing sometimes because it's so big and it's so different from what we're used to looking at. But, what if an urge and a craving and a thought and a memory and a laugh and a little bit of annoyance and all of that are basically the exact same thing? They don't mean anything about us, it's all experience moving through us.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, it's so big and so mind blowing yet so simple at the same time.

Amy Johnson:
Yeah. It's so common sense, but our mind wants to grab it and it's like no, it's not. This is a problem. But no, it is. 

Melanie Avalon:
It's like the answer can't be that easy and then the mind goes all off. It's got to be this. It's got to be ... That's exactly what we're discussing.

Amy Johnson:
It's so simple. I love that you just said ... I think that's just such a huge thing to look at. Life is so, how we work even, it's so incredibly simple, but our minds don't like that. Our minds are just ... we're super smart. They have all these concepts and ideas and that's just what they do is they complicate things. 

Amy Johnson:
And again, that's not a problem. It's cool and fun sometimes, especially if we know that that's what your mind is going to do. So, I love just that. If you're listening and you're like, it can be that simple, or no way, or I would've seen this before, because I hear that stuff every single day in my work, just consider oh, maybe that's just what a mind says, but what if it is this simple?

Melanie Avalon:
Maybe it is that simple because our mind so naturally over complicates everything that that's why we never found the simple answer because it would never rise to the surface. Okay, I talk about this study all the time now, because ever since I read it, it just, no pun intended, blew my mind. Are you familiar with the studies they've done in left versus right brain, and seeing certain objects where only the left brain sees an object or only the right brain sees an object?

Amy Johnson:
A little, not very familiar.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, they've done a lot of studies on ... I think it started when they were doing studies in split brain patients. They wanted to see how splitting the hemispheres of the brain actually affected various behaviors in people, but I won't go into all the crazy details of the study, but I'll to some articles in the show notes for listeners.

Melanie Avalon:
But basically, the idea was that when they set people up so that only ... because the language part of our brain is our left brain and then the right brain is more of the motor control and things like that. When they set it up so that only part of their brain could see certain objects and only the other part of their brain could see certain objects, and then they would ask participants ... They would ask them why they had done certain things with objects that the left brain, so the language part of the brain, had never seen. 

Melanie Avalon:
So, it didn't know the answer to the question because it didn't have any experience to explain why it had done things, the participants would actually just make up stories that they remembered. The language part of the brain would make up memories to explain why things had happened even though it literally had no idea. 

Melanie Avalon:
Ever since I learned that, I was like, wow, because I am always wondering if oh maybe I'm incorrectly interpreting things, or maybe I'm making the wrong judgments. But then once I realized, oh my brain could literally just be making up things, that was such a paradigm shift for me.

Amy Johnson:
I think that is gigantic. That is essentially the essence of everything I'm talking about. If we can see that we have this narrator in our head, our mind, our brain, whatever we want to call it, and it does exactly what you just said, it's just constantly making shit up, and it's just trying to tell us stories that go together and that make sense and that in its way, that can predict the future and keep us safe and all this stuff.

Amy Johnson:
But, if we even just have a little bit of suspicion of, wow, I don't think what my mind tells me is exactly what's going on. I've seen just a little bit of suspicion completely change people's lives, because then what? Something happens. You tell yourself, oh I'm such an idiot. I can't believe I did that or this is never going to work out or whatever. 

Amy Johnson:
And, if you know that nothing your mind tells you is the truth, you don't have to see the truth, but you can just know, how can anything our mind tells us be the truth. There's almost eight billion people on earth and we're all having radically different experiences, often of the exact same circumstance at the same time.

Amy Johnson:
There's no way it's the truth, and that is the function of the mind like you said, that it just will give a reason. It wants to give a cause and effect, and it wants to tell a story. I just think, it's completely life changing to see that because little by little it just loosens your grip on the concepts and the stories.

Amy Johnson:
And then, you get to wake up and feel something in your stomach or whatever, and your mind doesn't automatically fill in all the blanks and tell you how bad your IBS is. It literally, this leads to a radically different experience of anything in life. 

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah. It's a paradigm shift. I think the two things I reference the most now is probably A, your book, and then B, that study that I read. Specifically, it was pictures of chickens and eggs and shovel and snowstorms and the language part of the brain would just make up memories about the person. It makes you want to question literally everything, and it makes you want to just experience the world completely afresh with no history.

Melanie Avalon:
So, I have so many questions. So, one question I do have though is, so we can say all of this. We can have this understanding, okay, maybe my interpretation of an event, maybe it's not the way it is. Maybe I can just experience things without all of this drama or meaning, so we can have this idea, but still, can we ... because a lot of people will say that we can have this idea in our heads. We can have an understanding in our "prefrontal cortex," but that if in ourselves, deeper in our brain, if we have these different idea, or a different view or a fear or a stress or a trauma or an anxiety, can we really ... I don't want to say talk ourselves out of it, but can we have a paradigm shift in our thinking part of our brain and address something that might be deeper within us?

Melanie Avalon:
Because maybe people will say that it requires some deeper modalities like limbic system retraining, or people will say various somatic therapies or body mind, EMDR. No, you actually have to go deeper. You can't have just a top level understanding paradigm shift.

Amy Johnson:
Well, the thing is, I don't know, but I see this as bottom level. I think all of that EMDR and somatic stuff, that's all more upstream than what this is. And, I'm not trying to just compete to say this is as deep as it gets, because I'm sure there's more that we can discover, but it's, ultimately, what we're talking about and what I've seen with people is, when we come to see that we are not our experience, period. We are not our somatic experience, our thought experience, our feelings.

Amy Johnson:
We are not those fears that come up from out of nowhere. We are not our fight or flight response. All of that is part of the form of a human being. It's all part of the design of a human and the form part of us anyway, and the physical part and our psychology, but we are so much bigger than that.

Amy Johnson:
We're essentially the kind of essence, the consciousness, if you want to use that word, within which all that stuff appears. When we come to see ourselves as something so much bigger than anything we experience, there's this space that opens up where we can experience anything without much to do. It's like, okay, here's what's showing up.

Amy Johnson:
Again, remember we talked about if everything's neutral, it's neutral. It just moves through us. It's not such a big deal. And, that's not the goal. I'm not saying we want to be neutral in life and that's not at all what happens, but if we feel safe in our experience, if we don't fear and tell stories and make up things about anything we experience, like a flashback, a memory, a physical symptom, any of it. If we know it's all moving, changing experience, and we, the real us is, the way I would say it is this consciousness within which all this stuff arises and falls, then what is there to fix?

Amy Johnson:
We don't need to dig in and dissect things and see where it came from necessarily. And, I have not done a lot ... I did a lot of that in the past and I don't really do much of it anymore and I've seen many people have this paradigm shift in this big picture way. And suddenly, their desire, their need that they feel for therapies and doing a lot of that stuff just completely falls away. 

Amy Johnson:
Now, that doesn't mean it's not helpful for a specific person in a specifically moment. So, if you're listening to this and you love your EMDR and you feel like it's helping you, please don't hear this as me saying stop doing that or that you don't need to. You don't need to, none of us need to do that because we are made of health, but we all do the best we can see to do in the moment. So, for sure, whatever's working for you, do it, but deeper than that is this bigger understanding.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, I love that so much. So, something that I found very practical and implementable because ... so we've discussed this whole paradigm shift which is just so huge yet so simple. But then applying it even more practically to one's life, and you mentioned this a little bit prior in things you were saying, but urges and their relationship to habits and how understanding our urges is key to understanding how we can break a habit.

Melanie Avalon:
So, what is an urge that we have for a habit, and what does that look like? Any other word besides experience, but when it happens, when an urge happens, how can we start to see what that looks like so that we can engage with it differently?

Amy Johnson:
Yeah. So, in the big picture, again, an urge is no different than anything else we might experience fundamentally. So, it's made of the same energy that moves through us all the time. So, I just think that's really important to call out. That might sound very vague. I get it, and especially if you're not used to this kind of conversation, that might sound extremely vague, but it's not this ... because I used to feel like it was this monster chasing me and it had all this power and it meant all this bad stuff about me and it's not different fundamentally than feeling joy or excitement or anything else.

Amy Johnson:
It's just energy moving through us that our mind talks about and tells stories about. So in the case of an urge, our mind says, "Oh no, here it is again. This is uncomfortable. You better do your habit to make this go away." And that, is what hurts us, those stories. Not the sensation, not the energy, not what we'd really call the urge I guess, in its essential form, but the thinking about it and the idea and the misunderstanding that it's special and different. 

Amy Johnson:
So, that's one way of talking about it at a very high level, that none of our experience is special or different in that sense. It's just that our mind has all kinds of condition thinking about it. And I think also though, it's another way to talk about this, which is just from a different angle is, when we feel an urge, it can be just, that's a perfect part of our design as well. 

Amy Johnson:
When we feel something that's so jarring and uncomfortable and demanding our attention in a sense, that doesn't mean ... now what I used to think it meant and all my clients think it means, is that, oh there's a real problem here. I'm being woken up in the most uncomfortable, jarring, horrible way. There's a real problem here and I better solve it.

Amy Johnson:
But, it doesn't actually mean that at all. It's showing us where we're really caught up in our heads. It's basically an alarm system that's showing us, well, the mind has taken over big time. You and the character of you and the center of your story and oh now, and this has to happen and this isn't going to happen and all that stuff, we are totally misidentified with our thinking in that moment.

Amy Johnson:
And, feeling is how we wake up to that. That's just how the design is. It's a beautiful design. We start to feel uncomfortable and then we think, "Oh no, this feeling's bad," and then we need to reach for something and make that feeling go away, but what if that feeling, what if all of it is just, it's just that kind, loving alarm system that's saying, "Hey, you're really up in your head right now. This isn't your natural state." 

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, that was one of the things that really, really stuck with me when you were talking about urges in your book was this concept that when we engage with the urge, especially an urge that seems to be connected to doing some sort of "habit" that we're trying to break, that we want to do the habit to make the urge go away rather than to actually engage with the habit. 

Melanie Avalon:
And, that was such a different perspective to me. So, if I have this urge to eat this food, maybe we don't so much want the food as we just want to not have the urge to eat the food. And like you were saying we're so not used to this jarring energy in our head demanding something, so we try to quiet it or we try to make it stop.

Melanie Avalon:
It's interesting because on the Intermittent Fasting podcast, I've been recommending your book a lot and I think one reason people can actually really benefit from intermittent fasting is because it's one way to actually start to hear that voice or that urge, because if you're ... and I'm not trying to make this about intermittent fasting, but just as far as the paradigm shift goes, because if you commit to a certain time that you're not going to eat, you start to experience that urge and you realize that you don't have to engage with it, and then you can start hearing it for other things. 

Melanie Avalon:
So, ever since I read your book, I started really realizing this voice in my head, and this urge to do things, some being tied to habits that I wanted to break. But then I realized, I also had some habits that weren't really bad, and they weren't even hurting anybody, so things like picking at my nails for example.

Melanie Avalon:
So, it's not hurting anybody and I'm like, "I could stop that if I wanted." So, I tried an experiment recently where I was like, "I'm going to apply this work that I've been doing with how I view urges in my head, and I'm going to apply it to this meaningless habit that is not a big deal, like picking at my nails." And, I realized that that voice that was like, pick at your nail now, it started getting more intense and more dire.

Melanie Avalon:
I was like, this is weird, because the other thing that I really struggle with is, I'll get really ... sorry I'm making this really personal, but just so I can show this may look like practically for people. I often struggle with cravings for one food specifically, which is cashews. Maybe it's the story in my head that makes me not digest it well, which that is quite a possibility, but for me right now, they always seem to create digestive issues.

Melanie Avalon:
So, that's something that I'd like to address, and I experience the urge to eat it and I can apply it to that, so I tried applying that mental technique to this picking at my nails situation and I was so surprised, but the urge to do it got more intense and more intense and I was like, "This is so weird," and I started realizing that it was, in a way the same voice in my head that would tell me to eat some cashews, or the same voice that would tell me to do other things.

Melanie Avalon:
And, I was like, wow. It was just such a paradigm shift to realize that these intense desires for things, or these habits, that they really do possibly come from the same simple root urge or concept or energy in our body, and that we don't have to have all this meaning attached to it and we don't have to engage with it. Sorry, that was such a long story, but I was just so shocked to have the exact same reaction in my head to something I thought wasn't a big deal.

Amy Johnson:
Yeah. Well, it is all the same though. You're totally right. There's one narrator in there. It's never about the nails or the cashews or anything. It's never about habit. It's never about anything out there. It's one narrator that's constantly talking and then pulling in what our senses bring in, what we're seeing, and smelling and what's around us in whatever, pulling in old thoughts, old memories and just telling a story about it.

Melanie Avalon:
And so, when we do experience these urges in the moment to engage with these habits, does it require willpower to not engage with them? Because I think that's what a lot of people might be thinking right now. They'll be like, "Okay, so this urge is not me and that's great. I cannot have identity attached to it. That's great. I cannot have drama, so I'm just going to have to use willpower to not engage. Why might that not be the best approach?

Amy Johnson:
Well, if we really see and even by really see, I mean even just a fraction of a percent. If we really start to get a feel for the fact that we all just have a narrator in our head that talks about stuff and that it's not demanding, it's not about what it's demanding. The stories are not as they appear. We have everything we need. When our mind is quiet, no one has a craving or an urge for anything. We need nothing, nothing at all.

Amy Johnson:
When our mind is quiet, we are completely at peace, at ease, and there is nothing needed or wanted. When we really start to see things at that level, you just start to see them. So, every time it looks like I need something or want something or a little habitual thought's coming up, it's just our psychology. That does it. It's huge.

Amy Johnson:
Again, this is another one that can sound so simple that people will not hear that at all, but eventually, they will. That is gigantic. When we really start to see that for what it is, it wouldn't even make sense to use willpower to overcome something or fight something or talk ourselves out of something because it's all made up to begin with. It's like talking yourself out of being afraid of the shadow on the wall that looks like a monster. 

Amy Johnson:
When you're three, you might need to do that, when you're 33, hopefully you know what a shadow is and you're not going to sit there and talk yourself out of, oh, it's not going to get you. It's over there in the corner. You know what it is. So, that's what we're going for here. It's huge, and the big picture, it changes every aspect of your life.

Amy Johnson:
Seeing that what our mind talks about is not the way it is. So, in your cashew example. This is really big, but do you even like them? You might think you do. You have the experience of liking them perhaps, but just to consider this. What if this whole thing of ooh, cashews, they sound good. Oh, can't have them. You're onto, like you said, that's all just this big story. There's nothing about the stupid nuts that have any power over you that you even love or don't love or anything. 

Amy Johnson:
They're just matter. There's nothing to them. But, our psychology is so big and we're in the middle of it and it's all brought to life in such a way that we get so wrapped up in it.

Melanie Avalon:
I'm just sitting here thinking, I'm like, but I love cashews. Then I'm like, but do I? Oh my goodness if you could hear the dialog in my voice right now.

Amy Johnson:
Sorry. Let me just say, because this is huge. I love this topic too, of preferences and stuff too. You have the experience of loving them. But, I think even bigger than that is why? Where is that experience coming from? So, I had the experience of loving all my old binge foods and even though they made me sick two seconds later, but what is that about? 

Amy Johnson:
I think in large part, I'm not saying you hate cashews or that you're neutral about cashews. I'm sure you enjoy them to some extent, but it is really fascinating to see how our mind tells us what we like and what we don't like. My son, who's seven, he convinced himself that he hates cinnamon rolls and he had never had a cinnamon roll in his life. He'd never eaten one, but he's a super picky eater.

Amy Johnson:
He just tells us what he likes and doesn't like before he's tried any of it. So, he's like, "No, I don't like those. I don't like them." We're like, "Are you sure? I don't think you've had one before." He took a little corner of a cinnamon roll taste, and you could see his body just melt. He's like, "Oh my God." But then he's like, "I don't really like it," like he's trying so hard to keep this idea of it.

Amy Johnson:
But, our mind tells us what we like and don't like, and when you have all this thinking about anything, we do experience that, but it's more conditioning than ... again, just play with this for yourselves and see. It's more conditioning I suspect than any kind of true preference or true liking. 

Melanie Avalon:
Well, it's really interesting. I was actually thinking about this last night. I was at a restaurant and they had a dessert tray with seven different options and in my head I was like, "Well obviously, everybody would want the red velvet cake, because that's just obviously the best." And then, one person picked a cannoli and in my head I was like, "Who likes cannoli? That's not even ..." And then, I started thinking about what you're talking about, what is a preference? What is a like? What does determine that. So yeah, when you start thinking about things, you really do realize what we're saying, the stories about everything.

Amy Johnson:
And, preferences are tied, especially food preferences and stuff. They're so tied to old memories and that's why, especially now around the holidays, people eat stuff they would never normally eat because it's tradition or because Grandma fed you a fruit cake and now you eat it. You think you like it or whatever.

Amy Johnson:
What you're liking is the thoughts that come up. That's all, because that's what we feel is thoughts. So, what you're like is the thought much more so, I think, than the food.

Melanie Avalon:
So, you're liking, are you liking how it makes you feel?

Amy Johnson:
No, you're liking the story your mind's creating around it. 

Melanie Avalon:
I guess we see that so obviously in studies on rodents or people as well who have habits and you start experience, the dopamine release before even engaging in the behavior. It's just the idea of it that creates that response that seems so pleasurable. So, I'm trying to make this really practical for listeners. I'm actually going to air this purposely, the closest date to the new year, so start the new year with this new perspective. 

Melanie Avalon:
So, let's say that somebody has a habit like, I'm not going to the cashews, because that seems very specific to me, but let's say somebody's trying to break a habit, snacking on candy for their health. That's why they want to change that. So, when they experience the urge to have the candy, in that moment, so they just try to realize okay, this is an experience. I don't have to engage. I don't have to have the candy. Practically, what should they do at that moment?

Amy Johnson:
Yeah. I'll tell you ideally what they might see in that moment, but the thing about this too is it's a much bigger exploration than a strategy for in the moment. So, all the time, of course people say, "What do I do in the moment when I want the candy?" It's not a strategy. So, there's nothing I can say, like do this in the moment and that's going to help.

Amy Johnson:
But, what tends to happen and again, this is so hard for us to get our heads around is I enter into these conversations every day with people who are trying to break habits, and we're not even talking about what to do when the candy hits quite yet. We're talking about the kind of stuff we've been talking about so far, like who we are and how our experience works. 

Amy Johnson:
And, as people come to see more and more deeply, like my mind is just a machine. It works like a machine. It just goes on repeat. That's why, that's all around these habits and it's very conditioned and it tells me stories and it says I love candy and I always have candy at 4:00 and all this stuff. And, I deserve the candy and it's not so harmful and all that stuff.

Amy Johnson:
People come to see all that stuff in their head that we can turn into Charlie Brown's teacher voice and it would mean nothing, but because of the words and the labels and all that, it feels ... they come to see that as, oh, there's my mind going on the candy thing again. So, automatically, before we get to even what do you do in this moment, just by exploring some of this, things just look different.

Amy Johnson:
And often, it's things you can't predict all the time. The candy thing still looks like a thing, but that maybe their relationship is totally different, or other things fall away, because again, this all applies to everything. So, already, the battle with the candy, they're seeing in this example, they're seeing okay, it's nothing I have to fight, and it's just my mind on repeat. How do I know? I might not even like the candy as much as I think I do. 

Amy Johnson:
So, that helps a ton. That goes a really, really long way, sometimes all the way. And then, in a moment, what can you do, well, we can only do whatever we can see to do in that moment. But often, how things start showing up for us in that moment is some of the stuff you said, oh, look at that. Isn't the interesting. It's not like I need candy now, so much as oh, look at my mind starting to talk about the candy.

Amy Johnson:
Just like you said with the intermittent fasting, how your mind's like, oh yeah, I decided I wasn't going to eat until 1:00. Here it is 11, look it, there goes my mind telling me I need food right now. But, you see that for what it is more and more. So, there's space for that so you can feel it, and it doesn't feel as gripping and it doesn't really occur to you to fight it because it's like, oh, I see this. It comes. It goes. It's not me.

Amy Johnson:
So, it's very much what you described, and I had that experience myself starting intermittent fasting over the summer where I was like, "Wow, this is amazing for what I teach." Like you said, exactly. We just get that experience of feeling stuff come up, sometimes louder than ever, but you come to know more and more of what it is and it just requires less of an attack in the moment because you see it and you experience it differently. 

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, it's such a paradigm shift. And, one thing you talked about in the book was that while we are experiencing these urges, that eventually, they will go away, which is also very freeing. Because, I think you can feel like if you don't engage in the habit that makes the urge seemingly go away, that it will never go away. But, you were saying, no, eventually it will go away. Do you think there's a benefit to ... because something that I've heard before people will do is they'll actually time it to show that after a certain amount of time has passed, that it changed. I don't know if you see any benefit to that at all.

Amy Johnson:
Well, I think it's individual. I think what you're saying is so beneficial to see in the big picture. We've never, ever, no one on earth has ever been stuck in a feeling forever, ever. There's no documented cases of that amongst human beings ever. Our feelings and thoughts try to change. And, I often tell people if I offered you $10 million to hold onto a thought or feeling for I don't know, a half hour, you couldn't do it. 

Amy Johnson:
Your mind wanders. Feelings change. It's just the way they work. They're like weather. Weather changes. We don't get to hold it in place. And, we miss that. We miss that when it comes to our feelings, because we're so afraid of this feeling. We're staring at it and we're like, "See, I'm staring at it. It's not changing." But, it's not changing because we're staring at it. 

Melanie Avalon:
So happy you brought up the weather. That was actually one of the things that really, really resonated with me was when you said that our true nature, our self is like the sky and that it's not affected by the weather. The weather changes, but the weather doesn't actually touch the sky. 

Melanie Avalon:
So, the weather would be the experience and it is ever changing, but behind all of that is the sky, which even when there's a thunderstorm during the day, actually the sky is still blue and clear behind the thunderstorm and that was just so beautiful to me and really resonated with me because it made me realize okay, anything that I'm experiencing at any point, that's not me. 

Melanie Avalon:
That's just my experience because it's happening now, like you said. It can't stay like that for ever. I don't know, I don't like using the word can't, but it can't. 

Amy Johnson:
It's a force of nature. Nature doesn't sit still. It just doesn't. And, we're nature too. So, here's the cool thing about this weather metaphor, it's a nice metaphor. It's a great metaphor and really, it's helped so many people because it's just so concrete. We know it, whatever. We know the weather changes, but really, take it an extra step and consider, it is so much more accurate than it even seems. 

Amy Johnson:
We as human beings are part of nature. Just like a tree grows from a seed. We grow from a seed. We grow up. Our form is constantly changing and deteriorating from the minute we're born, really just our form. This essence that grows us and lives us is always there. It's never touched. That's like the blue sky beyond the weather. We as human beings are nature. 

Amy Johnson:
So, it's mind blowing, I know I've said mind blowing 50 times in this conversation, but it is. It's mind blowing to really look at that as literal. Beyond just a nice metaphor, literally, what if our thoughts and feelings and everything moving through us is exactly like weather moving through the sky. What if there is some god or some bigger intelligence looking down saying, "Look at these silly humans. They're fighting their weather. They're doing all their rain dances. They have all their superstitions, and they're telling all these stories about what the weather means. It's all about them and they need to fix it and it's wrong." And, that's what we do.

Amy Johnson:
And, that creates all of our suffering. So, if we could see our experience and I don't know that we ever really will, because that's pretty huge, but really, really, just even one percent more than our psychological experience is a lot closer to the weather than we even see that it is. How it operates I think is just amazing.

Melanie Avalon:
It's so incredible, and it reminds me of another study I read where they had participants. They put them in a room and they told them that if they ... there was some buttons or something and they told them if they hit the buttons in a certain order, that a light would come on. I don't know if you've read this one before.

Melanie Avalon:
So, the participants would go in and they would hit certain buttons in certain orders and sometimes a light would come on an sometimes it wouldn't. They said at the end, every single participant walked out of the room convinced they had come up with the exact pattern needed to turn on the lamp, the light, and everyone was convinced. I think they said one of them thought that she had to stand on a chair and hit things in this certain order.

Melanie Avalon:
But really, there was no pattern. There was no pattern to it. It was just completely random about if the light would turn on or off. But, it just goes back to what you were saying that, I was thinking you're talking about we do the ran dance and we think if we do all this stuff that we can ... it's all this, just this, I guess desperate search to try to control like you said, the weather, when really it's just an experience. It's not something that needs to be controlled or needs to be changed or needs to be, I don't know. I'm just having a lot of epiphanies.

Amy Johnson:
Right. It can't make us happy or sad or ... and it's not inherently good or bad anyway. So, if you know this about the outside sky weather, yeah, sometimes it rains. Sometimes it's sunny. Sometimes it's hot. Sometimes it's cold, but we've all managed. Now, people like to complain about the weather and talk about it a lot.

Amy Johnson:
But, for the most part, we've all managed to just live a life and say, "Yup, there's this stuff called weather that's totally uncontrollable and inconsistent, but we just live with it and we go on with our lives." What if we had a fraction of that for our own experience? Yeah, sometimes I wake up in a bad mood. Sometimes I'm in a good mood. Sometimes I feel this. Sometimes I feel that, and none of it's me. None of it has to be good or bad or otherwise. It's just the variety of life.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, even continuing with the weather analogy, I adore ... and Jan and I, my cohost on the Intermittent Fasting podcast, we talk about this a lot, but I adore freezing cold temperatures. I love it.

Amy Johnson:
Where do you live?

Melanie Avalon:
Well, I guess it's not even freezing. Right now I'm in Atlanta. It's not freezing cold. Basically, I like it when it's really cold, whereas Jan loves summer and heat and I dread heat. So, I guess anybody can have any reaction and that's literally the weather, having a reaction to it as enjoying it or not enjoying. It.

Melanie Avalon:
You used the word good mood or bad mood. I think, I don't know, because that ties in so much into the idea of language, because I think if we put a label of, oh, I'm in a good mood, or oh I'm in a bad mood, even that itself, the idea of being in a mood seems to put us into a sustained state of experiencing an emotion that we have to keep experiencing if that makes sense compared to just adding an adjective like I am happy or I am upset, or I am this. Is that story telling? So, rather we should say-

Amy Johnson:
Well, I think we're going to, it's just what humans do, and there's a lot of ... it's not a bad thing, but what you're saying is also absolutely true. So, once we get into the adjectives and the good and bad and all that, that's our mind doing that. 

Amy Johnson:
Now, to just get along in the world and be able to relate to other humans, we need to do that to some extent, but the beauty in it is that if we see something about that, and we see that we don't need to trust our minds so much, we get to have those conversations and tell somebody, "Oh yeah, I had a tough afternoon, or that was a boring meeting," or whatever, and we secretly know, oh yeah, my mind just gave that to it. Does that make sense?

Amy Johnson:
We get the best of both worlds because really, we live at both levels. The ultimate truth of it is, there are no labels and we're just feeling energy moving through us. And, it's also true as human beings that we experience things that our mind will always call good, bad moods, all that other stuff.

Melanie Avalon:
Okay. Bringing it still again, back to the habit concept, but some people might feel like they're stuck in a rut of engaging in some sort of behavior pattern, be it an actual, I shouldn't use the word actual, be it a behavior habit or a thought habit. Does it matter the length of time that they have been seemingly stuck in this rut as far as to how "quickly" they could stop engaging in that pattern.

Melanie Avalon:
Some people might say, "Yeah, that's other people, but I've been struggling with this issue for five years, so I can't just make change tomorrow. It's going to take longer." Does it have to take longer?

Amy Johnson:
No. So, I've seen people in habits for 40, 50 years, and they have an insight, and they see into this and things fall ... I have a woman on my podcast next week that had a food related habit for 40 plus years and it was literally gone in an instant. Now, I'm not saying that's the norm, but here's the thing. 

Amy Johnson:
That, for sure, that happens. It happens more often than we think it does. It's also not, not the norm, if that's the right way to say. It's not as rare as we think it is. So, it doesn't have to take longer at all, but it often does because we think it will. Does that make sense?

Amy Johnson:
Because of what you just said, because we say, "Oh no, but I've had this one for this ..." all that is, is more thinking. And, we hold the expectation, oh yeah, no, I'm going to have to work at mine and mine's different. And so, we prove ourselves right in a sense, because we hold onto that thinking. 

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, I think a lot of people are going to have that exact response. I'm different. It's different for me. There's a, and again, it's that whole voice, but I think this comes in a lot with, especially with things that are labeled actually as addictions, they'll say, "No, I'm literally addicted," so there's that. Or, if it's something like a rumination surrounding a chronic health issue, because then it's like, no, there's actually physical pain. But I guess, guys, for anybody that it can be addressed.

Melanie Avalon:
One quote that you said in the book that I thought was so beautiful that you said that regardless of ... that habits, we can see them pass and it can seem like some are really, really intense. They really are well worn into the ground, but you said there is enormous waiting to bring you back, which I just thought was so beautiful, that at any point, there was this huge, enormous potential to return to a state being free of having to engage with that habit, that behavior, that thought pattern.

Amy Johnson:
It's like everything in us wants to go back home. So, that's totally what wants to happen. And, you're right, there's just so much momentum in favor ... it takes a lot of energy to be in a habit, even though, on the psychological level it feels like the shortcut and the quick way to not feel pain and all that kind of stuff, it's so much harder to do something than it is to do nothing. It takes a lot.

Amy Johnson:
There's so much momentum in favor of us just settling and being okay, and not needing to add anything. And, it does sometimes, like I was saying, we can expect that it'll take long and then we hold onto that and then we find evidence for that and so that happens. But, the other thing that happens a lot when I see people starting to be free of a habit, is they have an insight or a series of insights, so they really see, oh, everything we're talking about, they come to really see it as true and this is so fascinating, and their mind and their body, their psychology and the machine of their body still goes with what it's used to.

Amy Johnson:
So, for me, this happened for me with binge eating. Like I mentioned, I had some glimpses into this understanding and I knew, okay, I am free. I am free and I will be free, and everything's a done deal as far as that's concerned, but that doesn't mean my mind instantly stopped going to the same places it used to go. 

Amy Johnson:
And when it went there, I still felt a lot of the energy around that, that I had felt before because that's just a body and mind veteran habit. But, the thing that was different is independent of my body and mind going there, I saw it differently. I saw, oh yeah, here's ... again with the fasting that we talked about, oh yeah, here's what time I usually start thinking about breakfast. I don't do that anymore. Or, I'm not doing that right now. It's just that space to feel the pull, the physical and psychological pull, but to not have to go with it.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, I think that is something so huge to touch on, this idea that I think our current identity so often can get tied to the behaviors and the thought patterns we've been experiencing, so when we reach a point where we realize we don't have to be engaging or they don't have to be a part of our life going forward, it's weird. We can almost want to, we can feel like we're losing something.

Melanie Avalon:
They'll say that people prefer a current situation that might be unpleasant or not serving them just because it's what's comfortable, or it's what they're used to, and I think people so often get stuck in that. It's interesting, I just had LASIK surgery done, and I had so many epiphanies about all of this stuff with that process. 

Melanie Avalon:
So, the day before, I was like, you can't wear contacts or glasses the day before and I got it to see far away, and I had this moment where I was looking at the world and everything was blurry because I hadn't had the surgery yet. And, I was like, wow, I'm never going to see the world like this, I'm never going to see the world blurry again. 

Melanie Avalon:
You think that would be a really great thing, but instead I got hit with this wave of sadness, oh I can never again experience this, and I was like, wow. That is such an epiphany that I am sad about losing something that is ... there's something better most likely on the other side, but I'm sad about losing my current experience or my current reality. 

Melanie Avalon:
And then, the second epiphany I had regarding it was, I got the actual surgery done and it was massively unpleasant while it was occurring, but now it's done and now I'm so grateful. I can see and I'm not traumatized by that, even though it was a "very traumatic" experience. I'm not playing the story in my head every ... I could be playing a story every moment in my head about oh I had this terrible traumatic experience where they did all this stuff to my eye.

Melanie Avalon:
I could be thinking about it all the time, like I think about some other things all the time, my IBS, but I don't, and I haven't attached any story to it or meaning or ... like we were talking about, my language hasn't made it a part of my current reality, and that made me realize, oh, if I can experience something ... I don't even want to say objective because now it's like, what is objective, but something most people would interpret as being a very unpleasant experience and I don't carry it with me, why do I carry the emotional baggage of other experiences. So, I know it's a lot of words, which is ironic, but it just comes back to this idea of experiencing ... that we can just experience anything in the moment and that that can be okay. 

Amy Johnson:
Yeah, and it pokes a lot of wholes in this idea that we all carry around that is there's a certain logic to what we experience and it's for a good reason and it all makes sense. Even though I think if we just look a tiny bit, we see that that's not the case. But, I love examples like that, because it's really like, wow. Isn't that interesting, "lesser" things you might be ruminating about or having flashbacks about for months and something like that you just brush it off. And, we have thousands, millions of examples of that all the time, which again, it's like, wow, how seriously am I going to take my own judgments when they're as fickle and illogical as that. 

Melanie Avalon:
It is so crazy. And, I think it's also a really great analogy because ... I had an epiphany, an insight ... I love that word. That's a word that you use in the book a lot and I really loved. Would you like to tell listeners a little bit, because you talked about insights and why it's different from, what did you compare it to? You're saying how an insight is different from just knowing something.

Amy Johnson:
Yeah, from learning a fact or something. I think they're the opposite. So, I forget the word I use now in the book, but learning something or a new concept that we pick up or something like that, it's added. It's additive. It's our intellect grabs something new and pulls it in, in a sense. And, an insight I think, is when our mind gets quiet, we see what's already there.

Amy Johnson:
So, insights often have this sense, and we've said it several times in this conversation of, duh, I can't believe I didn't see that. Now that I see it, I can't unsee it. It's so obvious once you see it. They don't always have that feeling. Or, we just get clear and then stuff comes to clarity, as opposed to something we have to learn or work for or add in.

Melanie Avalon:
It reminds me, I think, the end of Wizard of Oz with Dorothy realizing that the answer is in her own back yard all along. That idea just keeps hitting home to me now, especially with this whole concept, that we're searching for all of this answers and all this stuff, and maybe the answer was just there all along. We just created this whole story, this whole Oz that we thought was real.

Amy Johnson:
Our mind just thought it can't be that simple. So, it creates this big dream.

Melanie Avalon:
So, one other question, or one of the things you talk about is, so say somebody does has this insight, reaches this new point of being free from these habits, specifically with you ... now, I'm bristling every time I use labels, but binge eating or eating disorders, or it somebody has a smoking habit or whatever habit they may be struggling with, there's always this fear of setbacks, like, what if I fall back into it? What if it comes back? Is that something that we should even be afraid of, or how should we view setbacks?

Amy Johnson:
Well, I think it's again, if we see that our mind and our body just, they have a lot of momentum in favor of habits. They are habitual machines for good reason, to keep us alive. So often, stuff will come back and that doesn't have to mean anything and it doesn't ... if anything, it probably means that your brain works well. You have a good memory and your mind wants to bring it back. But, like everything we've been talking about, the suffering in it is 100% the story we tell.

Amy Johnson:
And, there's a lot of story, and a lot of it comes from even outside of our own heads. Ultimately, it's coming in our heads, but it's been given to us by things like 12 step programs, which have helped a ton of people and can be really amazing, but there's also this part of it that's you're on the wagon or you're off. You count your days, and if you fall off the wagon, you go back to day one. It's a very black or white mentality, and so we've adopted that in a lot ... there's many other examples. 

Amy Johnson:
We've adopted that, and so just see, there's nothing inherently anything about, say you've had so many days without your snacking habit or something, and then one day you snack. It doesn't mean anything, but the meaning your mind attaches to it. And, when people see that, then it's like, oh, okay, my mind started going back to snacking. I got caught up in it. I snacked again, end of story. 

Amy Johnson:
And, often, when people see that even better, is that they learn something from it. It becomes an opportunity to reground in a sense in what they've seen like, oh, that's right. That's just my mind just spit that out at me like it always had and I got caught up in it. They almost come away from the "setback" with greater clarity. So, I can't see how there's anything inherently wrong with them.

Melanie Avalon:
So, not to give a very specific potential problem, but I do think what a lot of people might experience with that idea, which is so freeing and so incredible, but what if people have that idea and then they're using that as an excuse to further engage with something they don't want to do? Because then, it's oh well, this can be a learning experience. Or, it's fine if I do this again because it's meaningless, so might as well ... the whole voice.

Amy Johnson:
Yeah, so that definitely happens, because our mind gets in there and wants to have it its way, and it'll tell stories like that, but the thing is, I think we know on some level, and especially over time, when we're doing that. When we're using ... it doesn't feel good. That's not freedom at all to say, "Oh well, yeah setback happen. I guess I'll just do it again," or, "oh, no big deal. Maybe it'll happen 10 more times this week."

Amy Johnson:
That doesn't feel good. That doesn't feel anything like the freedom that we had from seeing that we are in our experience, so there's this beautiful feedback mechanism that's always happening. When we feel further away from home, when we're full of, when our mind is messing with us like in that example or we're full of ideas or rationalizations or concepts or thoughts that look real, we don't feel well and we get, again, that's just an alarm. We get signs from all over the place. 

Amy Johnson:
So, either you fall back into your habit in a big way, and that wakes you up. You just come full circle and get an opportunity to see through all that stuff. So, does that make sense? We can't get away, because I think sometimes people afraid of, oh, I'm just going to lie to myself for life, or I'm just going to fool myself forever and then wreck my health in the meantime.

Amy Johnson:
We're wiser than that. We can't really fool ourselves for that long. Eventually, we wake up to it and everything in our design is such that it wants to wake us up to that. 

Melanie Avalon:
So, there is this idea, and we keep touching on, that everything we're doing ... in the end, we're just seeking this state of coming home or being at peace in the moment, to questions surrounding that. One is, what about for people where that current moment scares them? Often we talk about how ... if you could just be in the present moment, that there's no fear of the future or anxiety about the past or depression about the past, there's just that moment. 

Melanie Avalon:
But, what if being in that ... and maybe this brings me to the second question, is can honestly, any person at any moment in theory, be at peace in that moment? Because, I think people, especially dealing with urges or dealing with physical pain or dealing with something they're finding very unpleasant. Can they honestly be at peace in that moment? What if the current moment scares you?

Amy Johnson:
If the current moment scares you, you're not truly present. Scares you, fear, only comes from our mind and our stories. So, it doesn't come from anything else or anyone else, any other place. It comes from our psychology. So, that's the only thing we're ever feeling. 

Melanie Avalon:
So, or if a person, I think a lot of people, if they're experiencing chronic pain, they're going to say, "I have pain, and that's something physical, so I could never be at peace in the moment." I am so grateful that I personally don't experience chronic pain, but with that type of situation, is it the same mentality?

Amy Johnson:
Yes, because I'm grateful that I don't experience it also, but a lot of people in my community do and our experience of pain, it comes to us from thought. Now, that doesn't mean stuff's not happening in your body, and it doesn't mean you can think your way out of it. I'm not saying any of that. 

Amy Johnson:
But, every one of us knows, chronic pain or not, that when you, let's just use something very not chronic, like you stubbed your toe, when you're focused on it, and you're like, oh my gosh, I can't believe I did that and you're like ... it's a totally different experience than if you get distracted from that. We've all felt pain somewhat more or less in the background. Now, chronic pain again, I have so much compassion for people that live with that, but it's actually probably even more relevant there.

Amy Johnson:
It's there in their life chronically, but they're thinking is still moving all over the place, and everyone with chronic pain I've ever talked with sees this, and says, "Yes, when my mood is in the toilet, when I'm focused on the pain and I'm so upset and I'm trying to fix it." It is totally different than if I'm doing something that I love to do, or if I'm just sitting or if my mind wanders away from the pain.

Amy Johnson:
So, that's again, and please don't ever hear that as saying, "Oh, you should just think your way out of it," or it's not real or anything like that. It's a real experience, but our experience even of pain, is always moving at least a little bit. There's always fluidity there. 

Amy Johnson:
And when we know that, we experience it more. If we think ... just like everything we've talked about previously in this conversation around this ... if we think it's different, if we think it's the exception, we're just going to experience it as the exception. But, if we can see wow, what if this is like that too, then we tend to see that a lot more.

Melanie Avalon:
So, for the exception, you're saying if we see chronic pain as the exception?

Amy Johnson:
Yeah, or any kind of health issue. If someone says, "Oh well, everything she's saying is great, but I have chronic pain, or I have this health issue and that's different," we're just going to experience it as different if that's what we believe about it and if we're not willing to be open to maybe it isn't. So, even pain is, our experience is coming to us moment to moment by thinking. 

Melanie Avalon:
Okay. That is ... we keep saying this, but it's such revolutionary paradigm shifts to have about everything.

Amy Johnson:
So, a really concrete example of that is with energy or sickness. I was talking with a friend of mine who was telling this story, and I think we've all experienced this in our own way of he was super sick in bed with the flu and he was being waited on by his mom at the time. It was back in his 20s or something and he was living at home and he's like, oh my God, everything's horrible. 

Amy Johnson:
And then, a girl that he's interested in calls and suddenly, he felt no symptoms. And literally, within ... this is extreme, but we've felt that. Or, a funny scene comes on Netflix if we're sick in bed watching TV and suddenly we don't feel our stuff for a minute. Now again, I'm not saying, "Oh, if you have chronic pain, just do that," but that's showing us, that's not any different than anything else we feel. It's showing us what's possible and how our mind moves. But, we miss that because we're so caught up in I have the flu. I have no energy, or I have pian this is different. And then, we just experience what we expect.

Melanie Avalon:
It's insane. I've even heard, even posited things like chronic fatigue, for example, is just this build up of ... that it's mostly, not it's all in your head but it's mostly all of this mental stress and rumination and just not having the energy because you don't believe you have the energy, because all of this mental stress and chatter and everything. I'm not trying to give medical advice or anything. I'm just trying to put forward paradigm shifts, new ways of looking at things.

Melanie Avalon:
So, this is actually perfect coming to actually the last question I ask every single guest on this podcast. And, it does tie into something that you discussed in your book, and that is where you talk about the role of love and gratitude and how engaging with that can be so beneficial for addressing habits and urges and changing how we experience the world. So, I was wondering if you'd like to touch briefly on that and then I have my one really quick last question that relates to that.

Amy Johnson:
Yeah. What I think is so fascinating about love and gratitude from this paradigm is again, we can practice them and we can foster them and all of that and that's wonderful, but we can also see that they are what's there by default. That blew my mind to hear this initially. We are full of love and gratitude every single moment of our entire lives, but it gets covered by the weather. 

Amy Johnson:
So, it's basically like the blue sky. So, it's not that we're lacking in connectedness or love or gratitude or any of that, it's just that we're sometimes thinking over it, and then we're staring at the clouds being like why is this cloud here? I want my gratitude back, and the gratitude's right there. It's just that the moving clouds are in front of it.

Amy Johnson:
So, I love talking about that, so I just think that's such a cool thing to leave people with, just consider. And again, we've all felt this. We've all felt moments where nothing in particular happens. Nobody in particular is in front of us or anything like that, and our mind just falls quiet and what we find waiting there for us is tons of gratitude.

Melanie Avalon:
I never really thought about that, but it's so true that oftentimes when you do reach that point of just silence or just peace, there is this feeling of overwhelming love and gratitude, and it does feel like maybe it was there all along. I know it's just hard to experience, because of all of these other things. So, wow. 

Melanie Avalon:
Well, thank you so much. The last question I ask every single guest on this podcast, and it's just because I realized how important gratitude is for everything, so what is something Amy, that you're grateful for?

Amy Johnson:
Oh my gosh. I'm grateful for so much. My daughter's birthday's tomorrow, so I'm very much thinking of all that. She's turning 10 and I'm just so grateful for my family, so grateful that I have two healthy, happy kids and an amazing marriage and really grateful that I stumbled upon this paradigm that we're talking about, and I get to spend my day talking about this kind of stuff with people like you. I can't even imagine, in my wildest dreams, years ago, I could not even have imagined that it would be like this, so super grateful. 

Melanie Avalon:
Well, thank you so much Amy. I am overwhelmingly grateful for your work, everything that you're doing. It is such a wonder, and it's helping so many people and I'm just so grateful for you. Amy does have a wonderful gift for our listeners and I will link to it in the show notes, but she is actually providing the introduction and chapter one of her book that I keep talking about, the Little Book of Big Change, so I will put a link to that in the show notes.

Melanie Avalon:
Again, the show notes for this episode will be at melanieavalon.com/habits, and I will put links to everything there and in addition to that, Amy, how can people best follow your work, stay in touch if they want to know more, what are the best links for all of that?

Amy Johnson:
My main website is dramyjohnson.com, which is D-R Amy Johnson dot com. I have a podcast and there's all kinds of fee content there and the main way that I share this paradigm is through my online school and community. It's called the Little School of Big Change, but there's links to all of that on my website.

Melanie Avalon:
Awesome. Awesome. So, I will put links to all of that in the show notes and thank you so much for being here, for everything that you're doing. This was absolutely, I will say it one last time, mind blowing, wonderful, paradigm shifting.

Amy Johnson:
Someone's going to have a fun game counting how many times we say mind blowing.

Melanie Avalon:
I know. And, then I'll talk about all the irony of that. Of course, it's our language, us talking about all of this, but I think it'll be very revolutionary for a lot of people. So, thank you so much. I know it has been for me. So, thank you.

Amy Johnson:
Thank you so much for having me. It was great to talk with you.

Melanie Avalon:
All right. Talk to you later. Thanks, bye. 

Amy Johnson:
Bye. 

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