What Will Make This a ‘Happy’ New Year for You?

My inspiration for this article comes from a TED talk that I happened to view on New Year’s Day given by a wise 17 year old young man, Sam Berns.

Sam has an exceedingly rare genetic disorder, progeria, which involves an abnormal protein causing accelerated aging – stunted growth, tight skin, lack of hair and heart disease.  He has the appearance of a skinny gnome and weighs not much more than 50 pounds and despite his bizarre look he has a smile and a spirit that lights up an auditorium.

San Berns

What Sam says is the most important thing he wants us to know about him is simply that he lives a very happy a life.  In his TED talk, sitting in a small chair on stage in front of a full audience so his feet can rest on the stage floor, he shares the three aspects of his philosophy of happiness. [Read more...]

Italian Adventure

Greetings once again.  I do hope you are keeping well.  I returned from my Italy adventure in early October and had a thoroughly delightful time.  I have remained in the glow of that holiday for awhile and am gradually getting into the flow of activities here.

Italy is a fascinating and beautiful country.  My friend and I began our tour in Venice – a magical city that literally floats on water, connected by canals and where there are almost more boats than people.

Grand Canal Venice Grand Canal, Venice

From there we explored the mountain area of the Dolomites in the north east, Milan and Lake Como, the scenic and charming seaside and cliff clinging villages of the Italian Riviera – Portofino, the five villages of Cinque Terre – Tuscany with its fortified medieval hilltop towns, the cities of Sienna and Florence with their riches of Renaissance art and architecture.  My summer climbing experience really helped me take on the 300 to 400 and more steps of city tours and cathedral domes.   I would love to take you on journey with me through my pictures.


In the Dolomites

In the Dolomites

Vernnaza and coastline of Cinque Terre

Vernnaza and coastline of Cinque Terre

We are now entering the Christmas season and all its activities.   For me it is a special time to appreciate family and friends and all my blessings, big and small.  I was blessed recently with a brief phone conversation with my elderly mother which I share in the article “My Mother’s Wisdom” in this newsletter.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks.  Check in Upcoming Events and save some dates for seminars in January and watch for more details of workshop in February.

My Mother’s Wisdom

I phoned my mother one morning last week to thank her for being present at my 65th birthday dinner.  My mother was a very independent and energetic woman into her late 80’s early 90’s.   She is now 95 years old.

However, in the last two years her memory had been slipping and she had become no longer able to safely care for herself in her own home.  She has been a residential care facility for over a year where the staff make her feel part of a family.

In recent months, she has been more likely to become upset, erratic in her reactions, and confused when stressed.  So along with my two brothers and the care home staff we have agreed that Mom be always accompanied when she goes out for a walk using her walker.  It has been difficult for her to accept this restriction to her freedom and independence.

Her most coherent times are in the morning – a good time to make a phone call.  Let me share some of our conversation from that call last week (with my mother’s blessing).

“ I feel so blessed.  I am so happy that we could be all together at your birthday.  It was special.  I think of you children a lot and I feel so blessed. ”  Then she went on to say:

“ I am much more positive in my thinking.  Strange that it is so. ”

When I asked her what she was thinking, her reply was:  “ I don’t know.  It can’t be said but you can feel it. ”  I responded saying how wise her comment was.  Feeling truly is the key.

Being confined indoors, she sits in her room a lot and she shared with me how fortunate she feels to have a room with a view.  She looks out over trees.  Her next comment was:  “ Looking out on the trees gives me such a good feeling.  I am almost in the woods here. ”  I was quite moved and astonished at this shift in her perspective because for the previous months Mom has done nothing but complain about not being free to go out for her little walks outside on her own.

She went on to say how much she admired me for the work I am doing and that I was a strong woman.  My reply to her was how much she gave me strength with her wisdom and her love.  I told her I loved her so much.  She told me that her love was “ so much bigger than words could say.  Can’t say what it is but I can feel it. ”

As we said our goodbyes she said to me “ Make it a lovely day. ”  Truly it is my choice to make it so.  I felt so blessed to receive this wisdom from my mother who at her advanced age is continuing to grow in love and grace, and appreciation for all her blessings.

This conversation with my mother was reminder that how I want to feel is my choice.  In order to make that choice at times I have to make sure my thoughts and beliefs support how I want to feel.

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete acknowledgment with it -  Dr. Nelie Johnson is a family physician and facilitator for healing – inspiring and guiding people to heal their life and heal their body.  She is a contributing author to a bestselling book and provides seminars, workshops, and private consultations.

The Power of Appreciation

I have discovered one of the most valuable gifts of a holiday is the opportunity for viewing oneself from another perspective and clearing out some old, non-serving patterns of reaction and behaviour.  Let me give you an example from my week of climbing in the Rockies.

I had prepared myself for the week and was significantly fitter and stronger than for last year’s mountaineering camp.  I expected to keep up and not hold the group back as I did the previous year.

However, despite my fitness program, I noted that I was one of the slowest and least strong of the party.  It didn’t help that I was roped up for the first climb with a woman a few years younger, ‘Nancy’, who was very experienced and fast-paced and full of stories of her climbing exploits from earlier in the summer and over many years.  That first day I felt she was pulling me along on the rope and I displayed some irritability and resentment of her.

Glacier TravelGlacier Travel

Without being fully aware I was doing so, I was comparing myself to Nancy and feeling ‘less than’ toward myself.  It didn’t help that she slept well in the hut dorm, snoring soundly, while I was awake a lot, partly because of her snoring.   For the most part I managed to get enough sleep. [Read more...]

Planting Seeds for Self-Healing

Are you feeling stuck about a health or life concern?

  • You have an illness or fear recurrence of a disease.
  • You have a disturbing, and perhaps repeating, pattern of stress in your life.
  • You figure you have tried everything and still don’t have the health you want.

We all want to feel energetic and alive, relaxed and joyful, confident with our health and in our future, feeling able to cope with life challenges, content and at peace in our world. Lifestyle basics are important – healthy food choices, drinking plenty of water, regular exercise, good amount of sleep, maintaining a balance of work and play. However, I am sure you know many people who seem to be living the good life and still get sick with a serious illness.

I have learned through meeting difficulties and challenges in my own life and over thirty years of medical practice – half of that time studying and practicing mind-body medicine and emotional healing – that there is a whole other level of self-care that we need to activate. There are seeds that we need to plant, nurture and encourage to grow to optimize our health and healing from disease – from colds to cancer – and from ‘dis-ease’. [Read more...]

Enjoying Outdoor Activities

Greetings this beautiful month of May.  Spring is in full swing and feeling more and more like summer here on the west coast.  I am sure your are enjoying more outdoor activities such as gardening, walks and biking. I am golfing, taking walks, hiking and biking.

alouette river dyke  View on one of my favourite walks along Alouette River dyke

In the last month I have been building on the success of the April one-day workshop – “Breakthroughs in Healing” and getting the message out about another one on Sunday, June 1st. [Read more...]

The Messages of Anger

Following on from my April article – The Pivotal Role of Emotions – in this article I am going to explore the emotion of anger.   I am inspired here in part by a CD program of Tony Robbins called ‘Get the Edge’ in which he devotes one disc to the ‘Power of Emotions’.    He organizes emotions into 10 main groups and describes how each group carries a message and offers a gift.

The anger category includes a range of emotions from irritation, resentment, feeling upset to feeling enraged, furious, livid.  Tony’s view is that the anger emotions carry the message that one of our important rules has been violated by another or even by ourself.   In other words in our view someone has shown disregard for one of our standards.   How a person resolves that issue determines the quality of  their relationships with people – how readily they clear upsets and stay close and intimate with others or whether holding onto anger they push people away.

The way Tony proposes to deal with anger emotions is to communicate clearly to others that we have a standard that we know is our standard and not everyone’s, and that we ask for their help to honour our standard. [Read more...]

Pivotal Role of Emotions

Having facilitated a one-day workshop, Breakthroughs in Healing, last Saturday, I was impressed once again with the central and pivotal role of emotions in self-healing.  I have written in previous newsletters (see June 2013)  about this and I am learning more ways to support people to work with and through their emotions more easily and powerfully.

I am getting a clear view of what emotions are – why and how they arise and how we can more effectively work with them for greater self understanding and healing.

I have come to understand the following about emotions.

  1. emotions are the natural outcome of our immediate response or reaction to what we are experiencing in the moment.
  2. emotions that arise as this instantaneous reaction are the result of subconscious memories and the patterns of beliefs, thoughts, and conditioning.   Behind every emotion or feeling there is a thought or belief.
  3. as we become conscious of these patterns, we are in a position to release and clear them and consciously choose how we want to feel.
  4. here are no good or bad, negative or positive emotions.  The problem arises when we avoid, deny or repress an emotion.  Then the emotion gets stuck and creates a block.  The more we avoid or repress an emotion, the more we shut down feeling any emotion – be it sadness or joy.  We create layers of defense to feeling and  become less alive.
  5. another problem is when we obsess about an emotion and stay in it.  We get taken out of being present.   For example if someone is triggered by a strong emotion such as anger or jealousy, the person is no longer present to anything else in their experience.  It will be as though they are churning in a whirlpool or side channel and are no longer in the mainstream and flowing with the current.
  6. the gift of emotions is that they give us direct access to the subconscious patterns and wounds that hold us back from being more alive and present in our lives.   Emotions are the language of the heart.   They speak our truth.
  7. however, emotions do not define us.  We are not our anger or our fear.
  8. Emotions are meant to serve us as signals, alerting us to the truth of what we are experiencing.  Emotions are sign posts that when acknowledged can lead to reflection and greater choice in how we respond to our world.

As I wrote in my previous article, “Making Friends with your Feelings”, we are not meant to feel only happiness and joy.  We are to feel the full range of emotions for every emotion arises as a living, energetic response to our moment by moment experience.  Every feeling is a natural part of our life and has a message to give us.

Emotions carry a message.  For every emotion there is a gift.   In my next article I want to share with you what I have learned lately about the gifts offered by different emotions and how we can use them for self-understanding and healing.

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete acknowledgment with it – Dr. Nelie Johnson is a family physician and facilitator for healing – inspiring and guiding people to tap into their own healing potential. She is a contributing author to a bestselling book and provides seminars, workshops, and private consultations.

Wishing you a Happy Easter

Greetings.  It’s mid April and the Easter celebration is coming up this weekend!   For us on the west coast it looks like a weekend of April showers.  However, nothing can quite dim the brilliance of the spring flowers at this time of year.


I want to share with you the wonderful success of the workshop – “Breakthroughs in Healing” – that happened last Saturday.  I was totally awed and inspired by how much benefit participants received  – their insights and healing.  It was very heartwarming.

I was so grateful and very encouraged by their experiences and am very motivated to set up another workshop, tentatively for early June.  So stay posted and please pass along this notice to others you feel could benefit.

( To read details about the workshop -  www.awarenessheals.ca/breakthroughs/)


In the article this month, I am focusing on emotions and the key role they play in healing.   This was very evident in everyone’s experience at the workshop last Saturday.

Other news -

  • I hope you visited my Home page and watched the new video Imagine Healing posted there.
  • I’ll be giving my signature talk – “ 3 Biggest Blocks to Getting and Staying Healthy” – in coming weeks and will send you notice of dates and locations.   Please share with others.
  • I invite you to keep following the Empowered Health column in the Vancouver Sun for articles on health and healing written by a variety of practitioners, including myself.   (Suggest that you google Empowered Health, Vancouver Sun Community Blogs.)

Wishing you a very happy Easter time and the best of health.

The Power of Belief

I like to gather stories of people who make amazing progress and even full healing despite the odds.  Here are two such stories.

The first one is of a man, ‘Dave’, in his mid-forties who I met in the walk-in clinic a few weeks ago.  He clearly had some awkwardness to his gait and did not have the full use of his right arm and hand.  Also he displayed some involuntary twitching movements of the arm and spasms of the hand.

Dave had a minor concern that I helped him with and I wrote out a prescription for his regular medications.  Then I said to Dave that I was curious and would he mind telling me how he happened to have the condition with his walking and his arm.

He was very pleased that I showed interest and took the time to talk to him.  He had been in a major accident and suffered a high spinal injury some years before.  He was paralyzed from the neck down with only partial use of his left arm.  His doctors advised him that he would be confined to a wheelchair and dependent on others for the rest of his life.

Dave did not accept this outcome.  [Read more...]