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Teri Johnson on Living More Spiritually
Since some of our listening audience may not yet know who you are, would you please tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a mother of two wonderful children ages 10 and 13, and I have been a spiritual-life coach and meditation teacher for over 10 years. I love life and I love to help people experience the world from an intuitive place. I came to my journey through the illness of my youngest child who inspired me to look outside of my comfort zone for answers. I believe that the best teacher is experience. So I share all of my experiences with my clients, the profound defining life moments as well as the mistakes that lead to them. I have enjoyed working with people individually and in groups as they learn to connect with their emotional and spiritual levels. And I particularly love helping them learn to hear the messages of their spirit/intuition. Perhaps what brings me the greatest joy, however, is helping families learn to do this together. I was inspired to develop a series of classes, Insightful Parenting, where we explored ways to set boundaries with love, take time out for ourselves, model living authentically and helping children learn to stay tuned in to their hearts. The classes were successful, so joining Little Soul Productions as the Conscious Parenting Expert and taking these lessons to a larger audience through the production of DVDs, classes and parenting tool was a natural fit for me.
Providing parents with timely, easy and proven tips to help them raise a balanced family is my passion. I continue to conduct Conscious Parenting Classes, write a parenting blog called The Heartbeat, and provide content for various media outlets.
You are a great success. Because of what you've accomplished and where you are in life, what would you tell others to Inspire them today, regardless of where they are in their life?
It's never to late to learn to tune in to the messages that your heart is sending you. Life gets overwhelming because we give more energy to the chaos than we do to the quiet of our own heart and soul. When I started my conscious journey I was 30 with two children and our medical bills and health issues were mounting. I learned to meditate, trust my own intuition and honor the activities in life that felt good to my heart and my life, and as a result my family's life shifted dramatically. Life's challenges creep in, but the degree to which we let them influence the connection we have to our heart is all within our own control.
We all know that inspiration can change lives. Can you share a personal story of someone who inspired you and made a difference in your life or a defining moment or experience that inspired you or changed your life?
My son was, and remains, my inspiration. He was born ill and the medical doctors were baffled by his symptoms. When he was six weeks old they were throwing around terms like, "life-altering" and "morbidity rate." He was being subjected to medical tests that literally brought me to my knees and yet we were not finding any answers. I was at my wits end when an acquaintance suggested that I see an intuitive and energy healer that she knew. This was well outside of my comfort zone, but I was willing to do anything to help my son. I sat in that healer's office and she spoke words that I didn't completely understand, but I could feel them vibrating in my body and I knew that my life was changing. That one hour of information combined with reiki for my son and one homeopathic remedy and my son's issues disappeared. I was inspired to "wake-up" on my journey. To this day my son serves as a barometer for our family life. If I am allowing myself to get sucked into the chaos or collective consciousness, his demeanor, health and emotional stability shift and it's the wake-up call I need to begin tuning back into my heart. He is my inspiration.
You make it look easy, but I'm guessing you've experienced challenges in your life. Can you share with our listeners how that has strengthened you to reach success? In other words, how do you overcome adversity?
I don't believe that we were meant to do this journey alone. In fact, every time I try to "fix" things or overcome a difficulty by myself it just gets harder. One of the Divine Dichotomies is that we come here feeling as though we are individuals facing the world alone, but in actuality we are all a part of a power and energy much bigger than ourselves. Challenges give us an opportunity to remember that bigger energy and seek like minded people to help us recover, heal and move forward. I'm very clear that without the inspiration of others, support of friends and guidance of mentors I could not be a mentor and teacher to others.
We all have ideas on how to improve our lives, whether it be a new job, moving to a new city, or finding love, but change can be a bit scary sometimes. Can you please share an experience with us where you "stepped off the ledge" with only faith, and took a big risk, based only on your belief that you would succeed?
I've stepped off a lot of ledges in my life, some on purpose, others by accident. But the one that sticks out the most to me is when I was 24, newly married and suffering from an autoimmune disorder. At the time we lived near Washington, D.C.. Just a year prior, when I was 23 and a fairly recent college graduate, my boyfriend and I purchased our first home and shortly after got married. My health was a challenge and numerous visits to doctors and chiropractors and using supplemental herbs did not seem to help. I just knew that part of the problem was the fast-paced life we were living. We were up early, commuting in horrendous traffic working long hours and trying to keep up with family that lived close by.
I knew something had to change and as scary as it was, I knew we had to move. It made no sense whatsoever. We had jobs, a home, and family. To outsiders, it looked as though my husband and I were living a fairly perfect life. My husband had never lived outside of Northern Virginia and to move meant ripping him away from everything that was safe. But still, we put our house on the market following an intuitive feeling and knowing only that we wanted to live in North Carolina. We had been in Durham. It's where my husband went to school, but we had never visited our chosen destination of Charlotte, NC. Our home sold within 24 hours and we needed to pack and had no place to go quickly. We had no choice but to go forward. Our living arrangements were not stable—nothing was stable. Not logically knowing anything and armed only with the belief that we were doing the right thing and the faith that it would all work out, we headed south. My husband and I both left good jobs with no prospects, no contacts and no family to greet us in the new city.
We spent seven years in Charlotte, healing, making friends and starting our family. We both found jobs and we found a house with land that was twice as big as our town house in Northern Virginia, I was able to heal from the damage caused by stress and fast-paced living, and ultimately Charlotte is where I found my first spiritual community. When I look back this is one of my favorite defining moments because I was not conscious of anything except my belief in a higher power. I didn't yet know how to consciously create, but I did have a strong faith and everything about the move felt right. To me, this is just proof that all you need is the faith of a mustard seed and trust in your own heart.
How can others do what you did?
We all get messages from our heart. The message I was getting was, "slow down." I didn't worry about the details, I just followed that message and the details largely worked themselves out. All any of us needs is a few quiet moments. We all ask the questions, "what now?" and "how am I suppose to do this?" but then we jump in doing what we think others expect of us instead of what feels right to us. We keep asking the questions, but then remember to expect the answers to show up. My rule of thumb is if I ask a question, for example, "where should I move?"—if the same idea comes to me three times then I need to move in that direction. So if after asking that question I then read an article in my favorite magazine about Charlotte, NC and then perhaps a friend says that she just visited Charlotte and then perhaps I hear a song on the radio that catches my attention and makes reference to North Carolina, I know I need to explore that idea. The answers come, but we tend to dismiss them as common everyday events. Nothing in this world is common or ordinary or accidental or a coincidence.
What process, steps or exercises do you recommend that our listeners could do right now and each morning, to improve the quality of their lives?
a) It might be overstated these days, but gratitude is a key. I start and end everyday by writing down at least five things I'm grateful for. By starting and ending my day acknowledging what already blesses my life helps me lead with abundance in my heart instead of feeling like I'm lacking anything (including answers).
b) I also recommend at least 10 minutes a day of quiet meditation—whatever that looks like for me. To me, meditation is anything that disengages my brain and allows me to go inside. For some people, exercise does this. For others, sitting quietly in formal meditation does. For others it's listening to inspirational music with their eyes closed. And for still others it's prayer.
c) A great teacher once told me, "expect a miracle." I find that walking around everyday expecting miracles is invaluable. It helps me see things that I once thought ordinary as the miracles they truly are. I now walk around in awe of my life instead of feeling combative. It's hard to be angry or frustrated with miracles.
What's the greatest joy in your life?
My family! Jobs, friends, homes. They will all come and go, but my family—my husband and my children—bring me great joy. In them I see God. I see miracles. I see hope. They remind me that I am here to experience happiness and joy.
If you had to wrap up the wisdom of your life to leave as your legacy- call it YOUR BRILLIANCE—what important things that you've learned would you want to pass on to others?
Waking up to Universal Truth is profound, and the legacy I'd like to leave is that everything here on this planet in this lifetime is temporary and meant to be tools for experience. Nothing less, nothing more. Second only to this is the awareness that we are all perfect. We arrived here perfect and only because we were convinced that sin and mistakes were real did we fall from the grace of knowing that we are comprised of divine light. I very much want my legacy to be one of my offering tools that help all people remember that what they feel inside is truth and what is going on around them is just a playground for experience.
If you had just one more thing that you could accomplish in your lifetime, what would it be?
I feel like I have so much more life ahead of me I hope that there are lots more things that I get to accomplish in the lifetime. But if I have to choose one thing that stands out among all the others, I will spearhead a movement to overhaul the public education system in America. Our current education system is so out of balance. It doesn't foster intellectual and physical growth. It leaves out the two most important components of our physical existence, emotional and spiritual growth. We hand our children over to a system that only values what one quarter of the brain is capable of. We work that portion of the brain in school until children are so out of balance that they fight, bully and have ill-health, growing up to be adults with a lot of intellectual focus but very little ability to navigate this world with balance, health, integrity and authenticity. There are ways to educate the whole child that will produce the greatest humans instead of just the greatest minds of our time. That's my goal. Children are our future. Why limit them?