Author Amanda Dobra Hope: “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”

In my opinion, the state of being mindful is best defined by the word “presence.” Mindfulness is presence, reverence, and awareness of yourself and your surroundings, often leading to better decisions for the greater good of all. Mindfulness can include meditation and other presence practices like journaling, stillness, yoga, and gratitude — but any method […]

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In my opinion, the state of being mindful is best defined by the word “presence.” Mindfulness is presence, reverence, and awareness of yourself and your surroundings, often leading to better decisions for the greater good of all. Mindfulness can include meditation and other presence practices like journaling, stillness, yoga, and gratitude — but any method that contributes to a state of presence and “being” with everyone and everything around you would be considered being mindful.

As a part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Amanda Dobra Hope.

Amanda Dobra Hope, M.Div., D.HLc., is a vision-holder, bridge builder, evolutionary teacher, author, speaker, and holistic life coach. An international award-winning author, Amanda has published three books that help to answer fundamental life questions like: “How do we create peace on earth?” and “How do we create great relationships between ourselves and everything and everyone around us?” Her teachings focus on the core theme of creating peace on the outside by beginning on the inside.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

From an early age, I had a fundamental need to get to the root cause of the issue when there was tension or strife within relationships. I wasn’t one for shoving things under the rug as I could always sense that to talk things through and uncover the core issue could bring people closer to themselves and others.

I grew up loosely religious, and for some reason, I was under the impression that my choices for believing in something higher and greater than me were either religion or nothing. Since I didn’t quite resonate with any specific religion enough to sign on completely, I found myself not having a belief at all until I discovered that you could be spiritual without being religious — that you could take parts of all of the different traditions that resonated with you and use them together. It was then that I searched for anything I could get my hands on about ancient religions, science and quantum physics, mindfulness, psychology, and any other way that you could blend the seen and the unseen together. I wouldn’t say there was any specific event that lead to my career path, but rather an ever-evolving hunger both innately within, as well as resulting from various life events, that made me want to teach people how to have better relationships with themselves and everyone and everything around them — leading to a more harmonious and joyful world for all.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

You would think it would be something more glamorous, considering the rather meaty subjects of the books I have written and how the messages are only now starting to be accepted by society as keys to the life we all want, but my answer to this question is actually a lot more simple.

I had a life coaching client once who repeated throughout our session that her issue was that she didn’t have any friends. As she continued to talk through things, she would consistently mention things like: “my friend so and so offered to do this for me,” and “my friend so and so met me for coffee,” etc. It was one of the most memorable and also telling sessions I’ve ever done, as I simply pointed out to her that though she said her issue was not having friends, perhaps they were right in front of her and just didn’t appear the way she was looking for them.

It’s so interesting to me how our brains work and how trauma, blocks, and perspective can change things. Sometimes the answer really is right in front of us, but we have to go “around the block to cross the street,” and experience other things in order to truly take in the healing and message.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

I have two pieces of advice. The first is to adopt the “Seventh Generation” principle if you have the authority to make decisions on how your product is made or your service is delivered. The Seventh Generation principle lies at the heart of many native cultures. The law states that before embarking on any new idea, project, product, or service, that a person or group consider the effect their decision might have on the next seven generations of people, plants, animals, water, etc. (basically everything that is essential to all life and enjoyment of the planet). As a leader, you have a responsibility to both your employees and the world. It’s a big job!

The other piece of advice I have is to create a mindfulness practice for yourself. This way you can come to work in the most centered and grounded place possible, as well as make decisions that are for the highest and best for all employees. These decisions will affect their emotional and mental states in a positive way, leading to their increased desire to do great work and contribute to a company that values them as well as the community and world as a whole.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Though I didn’t realize it at the time, apparently reading Fire in the Belly- On Being a Man, by Sam Keen back in college had a huge influence on me. Through my writings, I talk a lot about the healing of the masculine and feminine (energies that are inside of all of us and everything in our world), and how to create world peace and harmony from the inside, out. In my most recent book, I look at this healing through three lenses: masculine and feminine energies within each of us, the physiological and character traits we wear as embodied males or females, and the cultural norms of being considered male or female. Keen’s book takes a look at the way that modern culture has wounded and extorted the inner and outer masculine, which in turn resulted in the suppression of the feminine, and ultimately lead to in an imbalance between the two energies for all people — both within and without.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. From your experience or research, how would you define and describe the state of being mindful?

In my opinion, the state of being mindful is best defined by the word “presence.” Mindfulness is presence, reverence, and awareness of yourself and your surroundings, often leading to better decisions for the greater good of all. Mindfulness can include meditation and other presence practices like journaling, stillness, yoga, and gratitude — but any method that contributes to a state of presence and “being” with everyone and everything around you would be considered being mindful.

This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to spell this out. Can you share with our readers a few of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of becoming mindful?

Becoming mindful increases the awareness you have of yourself, and therefore the way in which you approach and interact with others as well as the world around you. When you know yourself intimately, you can show up with others from that solid place of authenticity with no mask, allowing for deeper connection and intimacy in all types of relationships. Closer connection with ourselves also leads to a greater understanding of our inter-connectedness to all things in our world — plants, animals, other people, etc. When we have a world full of people who know themselves and can connect with more presence and concern for the highest good of all — we all win.

Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness and serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.

Step one- Develop a stillness or meditation practice. This does not have to include you tying your legs into a pretzel or chanting mantras if you don’t want it to. In fact, I always suggest that people begin with a guided meditation. You can find them all over the internet, so accessibility isn’t an issue. A guided meditation gives your brain something to focus on while you are learning the art of being still and present. If you don’t want to do that, practice being still for a certain amount of time each day. Though it is best to begin these practices when your inner and outer world is calmer, you can start at any time, so a time of uncertainty and change in the world is certainly as good a time as any.

Step two- Do your inner-work. When you learn to be still, you will find that you have opened up a space in yourself that is free of distractions where you can access the parts of you that need to be looked at, acknowledged, and healed. When crises occur, they often bring with them a shake-up of emotions that have long been buried and needed a way to come to the surface. You can begin to remove blocks, sorrows, and anger by learning to work with your triggers and issues as they come up. There is a lot to be said about all of the different ways to embark upon this, so I won’t get into that too much here.

Step three- Minimize distractions. In our modern world, there is the potential to take in a multitude of information from friends, relatives, media, authorities, etc. each day. Now that you have begun to develop a meditation practice and work with yourself on your emotional triggers, you are becoming more able to observe your body and emotions in every moment. At this time, when you are consuming information from different sources, you can begin to observe how it is making you feel. If the information is making you feel anxious or depressed, perhaps it is time to change, eliminate, or limit your consumption of that particular information or source. Your feelings and emotions can tell you much about your inner emotional and physical state. Pay attention to these feelings and decide if you can shift them by shifting your perspective, doing your inner-work, or eliminating your interaction with that which drains you. You will get the information you need. Get it in a way that feels honoring of your body.

Step four- Take responsibility for your own energy. We all have our own energy within and around us. We each are responsible for how we are showing up within that energy each day and how it is rippling out to others around us, so check in with yourself regularly. What you consume, how you keep yourself mindful and centered, and how you are choosing to deal with your triggers and issues is very important to the experiences you end up having in this world, as well as the experiences you are creating for everyone and everything around you. Your choice to be mindful and responsible for your energy has a tremendous effect on the peace and harmony the world experiences. Don’t underestimate your power.

Step five- See the positive- and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. In general, things that have been out of alignment for many years don’t change very easily without some kind of wake up call, whether within yourself or out in the greater world. Remember that though you may be very uncomfortable, this too is a part of the wave of life, and most often things will be much brighter on the other side. Sometimes the only way out is through, however uncomfortable that may be at the moment.

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

Step one- Do your own inner-work. The more you do your own inner-work and get to know yourself better, the better you can understand how to best support someone else. There is a reason you need to “put on your own oxygen mask before helping those next to you.” Scientifically, you have something like two minutes after the cabin loses pressure to apply your mask before you pass out. What good will you be to those who really rely on you if you are not healthy yourself?

Step two- Don’t attempt to help everyone in every situation. As I mentioned earlier, each of us needs to do our own inner-work and attend to our own energy. If we attempt to do someone’s inner-work for them, they may be missing out on the opportunity they have been given to learn and grow. Many years ago, I went to a life coach who said to me, “Do you realize that every time you jump in to save someone that you are taking away an opportunity that the universe has given them to learn or grow stronger, and now they will have to wait for another opportunity to come around again?” I remember sadly asking her if that meant that I hadn’t been helping all this time, because that certainly wasn’t my goal. Sometimes we don’t understand that though we are attempting to help others and believe that our hearts are in the right place, we are actually harming the other person by trying to take their pain completely away from them.

Step three- Hold Space. As I mentioned in step two, it is not always for everyone’s highest good that you fix, save, or solve their issue for them. So what can you do? If you have enough energy yourself (be sure to check in with yourself now that you understand how to be observant of your own energy and the physical and emotional sensations you get in different situations), learn to be present with those around you when they need you. You can offer your energy and your presence and allow them to ask questions or talk through things without trying to make it better for them. You can “be there” without “doing” anything actively. Have you ever had a child feel more comfortable with you being in the room while they are coloring, even though you aren’t coloring with them — just in case they want to show you their masterpiece at any given time? They don’t want you to leave, but they don’t want you to “do” anything necessarily either. They are asking simply for your presence, and you can offer that virtually to those you don’t live with or with a small distance at a park or walking path at this time.

Step four- Are you an empath? Or being empathetic? I ask this because if you are an empath, you are a person who naturally picks up energy from those around you. It is very easy to mistakenly try to solve another person’s issue in order to make it easier for you not to have to feel it so strongly, especially if you’ve just found out that you are an empath and haven’t mastered how to separate your emotions from others’ yet. As well, if the person around you who is not doing well emotionally has not yet been introduced to or implemented any of the steps similar to those in this article, they are most likely unaware of what is going on within them, and their energy is probably very strong and jumbled. It is much easier to offer empathy to someone when you aren’t taking in their energy. If you are able to attempt the rescue without drowning yourself — go for it, but remember to be mindful of your own energy stores.

Step five- Know what is yours to do and what isn’t. Having a good mindfulness practice and connection to something greater than you that you can go to for advice/prayer/conversation can help you to understand which things are yours to do and which aren’t. In this way, you can better know how to help those around you. Should you offer resources? Should you just be there for them (by phone, Skype, etc. in these times)? Can you help them individually or as a group? Should you just be a listening ear? Did their issues spur something creative or inventive in you that could assist them or others? Is there some kind of advice or resource you can point them to? Understanding what is for the highest good of all can help you make better decisions about how you can help personally, or where you need to step away or refer someone to another resource or person that can assist them better than you can.

I have an easy example if you’d like for me to share. There is a homeless paper that vendors sell on busy street corners in the city where I live. I like to buy them. You pay the list price plus a tip if you’d like, and the sales help the person gain resources, food, and housing. At a time when I was struggling badly financially, I pulled up to a vendor while I was waiting at a stoplight. I had a couple of dollars on me and wanted to buy a paper but heard a firm “no” in the back of my head. When I reasoned with it and wondered why I shouldn’t buy one when I was someone who liked to support them, I was told, “If you buy that paper for three dollars, that vendor is then without that paper. The person a few minutes or hours behind you who wanted to buy a paper may not be able to because the vendor is sold out. That person could have given the vendor a hundred dollars with no skin off their back.”

What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?

The best resources in my opinion are: meditation, prayer/conversations with whatever higher power or thing that is bigger than you that you believe in, journaling, working with a professional that assists people in doing their inner-work and becoming mindful, reading books on the subject, and adopting a gratitude practice. Beyond that, the biggest thing you can do is learn to take life one moment at a time when things are uncertain. Learning to take life one moment at a time while considering the bigger picture is always a good practice, but in times like these, you will do best to go moment by moment and not look too far ahead.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“See the gift in the present.” It’s a double entendre and metaphorically means that every moment is either a gift, or something you can learn from or get stronger from. It helps to release the victim mindset and reminds us that if we have control of nothing else, we always have control over our mindset.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Inner-work is cool! The more you get to know and love yourself, the healthier your relationship will be to everyone and everything around you. When we are all doing this, our outer world becomes healthier and more harmonious as well!

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

You can find my website at

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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