“The Peace In, Peace Out Project”, Amber Campion and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

For the longest time I’ve had this idea of a project called, The Peace In, Peace Out Project. I see it as a movement of people doing the deep inner work (peace in), so that they can do the powerful change among outer work (peace out). It’s mindfulness and leadership weaved together. What I wish […]

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For the longest time I’ve had this idea of a project called, The Peace In, Peace Out Project. I see it as a movement of people doing the deep inner work (peace in), so that they can do the powerful change among outer work (peace out). It’s mindfulness and leadership weaved together. What I wish for the world is that we can all access the inner peace we long for and truly bring our full self to the world.

As a part of our series about “Emotional Intelligence, I had the pleasure of interviewingAmber Campion.

A trauma-informed yoga teacher, somatic yoga therapist, & integrative leadership coach. She is also the founder of Dynamic Release Method™ and The Fulfillment Formula™.

For more than a decade, Amber’s work in the field of emotional intelligence, personal development, and self-discovery has led her to create embodied trainings, workshops, retreats, masterminds, and online courses to bring your Full Self to the world.

Amber has been practicing and teaching yoga and mindfulness for 15 years. She is an E-RYT500 (experienced registered yoga teacher) along with hundreds of hours of additional training focused on somatic therapy. She did Vipassana (a 10-day silent meditation retreat) in the jungle of Brazil at age 28, has received in-depth coach training (Certified Holistic Health Counselor + Master Transformational Coach), trained in reiki, neurolinguistics programming, and continues to bring depth to her work through training in martial arts, improv, shadow work, breath work, energy work, and somatic therapy.

Her presentation style has been described as “motivating, inspiring, creative, funny and authentically, REAL.” Whether coaching, counseling, teaching, speaking, or writing, she invites those listening, to listen deeper…to themselves and to each other. Her zone of genius will have you stop hiding and start living intentionally and into your full potential.

A beloved student of behavioral psychology, neuroscience, poetry, storytelling, and spiritual studies bring a unique flavor and magic to her body of work and overall message that we are in fact…larger, better than we know.

Her work has been featured in Positively Positive, Thrive Global, Thought Catalog, YourTango, and The Yogipreneur. As well, she has collaborated with brands such as Specialized & has led workshops, retreats, and trainings throughout the world in Nicaragua, Thailand, Morocco, Costa Rica, Canada, Peru, Bali, and all over the United States.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

When I reflect on my childhood, the word that comes to mind is ‘unstable’…yet it was full of play and hope.

I didn’t grow up in one particular area. By the time I was 12 I had lived in three different states (in the U.S.) and many different homes.

I was diagnosed with a neurological brain disorder (epilepsy) at age 6. In addition, I suffered from chronic stomach issues, so between the two, I spent much time being poked and prodded in hospitals and doctor offices as a child.

My family life was a mix of playfulness and care, along with abuse (physically and emotionally), so it took many years of inner work to unwind what that experience caused me to make ‘love’ mean.

And yet, through all this instability, I have beautiful memories, such as being on the swim team and participating in ocean swims and competing in competitions. I remember being both scared and confused as a child, as well as full of joy and curiosity.

My childhood was bitter sweet.

Hm, it’s an interesting thing to go back to that time…something I remember about my inner world as a young one, was that I had the deepest, most profound sense of hope and love for humanity. Like in a particularly strange way for a child to have and hold.

I once interviewed my mom, asking her “What was my personality like? What were my natural strengths? Weaknesses?” She said, “oh you were extremely loving. You wanted to be held and hugged all the time. You loved EVERYBODY. You were so friendly and very, very happy. You would skip down the hallway to get blood work done (for the epilepsy check ups).”

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

Well, since we’re just off the topic of my childhood, I’ll lead from there. My mom would tell you, “Oh Amber has always went to the beat of a different drummer.” So with regards to my career, I never wanted something that was laid out for me by statue quo standards of success. I was pulled by the search for my truth for as long as I can remember. I am the most curious person I know, haha, truly though. It has allowed me to view life as an experiment of sorts…or an ever unfolding masterpiece that I’m creating. I want to see what is possible. I want to know people. I want to feel and express fully.

I went to college at a very young age, 16. I went for computer animation at first, but one semester before graduating I switched to advertising and PR. (because I didn’t want to spend my life behind a computer, even for a creative endeavor). I then moved to NYC at age 20 to pursue a career in photography as I had a natural talent for ‘seeing’ others and the world in a way that made people look and listen.

Eventually, around age 23, I experimented with a corporate job as a PR person for an IT start up. One year in, they offered me a 10K raise and a promotion, I resigned the next day. I knew, even then, that it wasn’t the life I wanted (no mater how shiny the carrot seemed).

Long story short, I ended up curing my stomach issues through holistic health and became deeply interested in the field. Since then, the unfolding has felt like…well, just that, an unfolding.

My career has been inspired by a deep listening (to my curiosity) and willingness to ‘get it wrong’ for the possibility of creating a life that feels true, beautiful, and fulfilling to me.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

I’ve had many mentors along this path. There are two that were fundamental however.

The first mentor I remember was a teacher I had in high school. I was 15 and taking a college course for philosophy. Through the papers I submitted this teacher, she somehow saw an artist in me. She offered to meet me one day after school at an art supply store and help me get started. Having someone see a potential in you is the most powerful and loving thing. It’s….everything really. No matter what I do, I now always see myself as an artist. It’s my drive for all things…to encourage deeper contemplation and create beauty and hope in the world…that is what artists bring to the table. This is what I do and it’s my greatest success and honor.

The other mentor was a man that I worked with in my early twenties at The New York Open Center, the largest urban learning center in the U.S.

I was able to take a 200-hour yoga teacher training for free as a perk working for this organization. I did it to help me with anxiety and the rage that was welling up inside (and coming out in ways I wasn’t proud of). I never thought I’d become an actual teacher. For a year, this man encouraged me to volunteer with an organization he volunteered for, The Lineage Project. They brought mindfulness practices to at-risk and incarcerated youth all over NYC. I ended up teaching with this place for 6-years and it was the catalyst for my teaching career (and personal healing/rising) in many ways.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I can’t think of one particular thing. What does come to mind however is maybe one of the most important lessons I’ve learned to date in the course of my career. Stay present and powerful in our work in the world requires us to proceed in all that we do with an experiment mindset. This allows us to focus on the process, rather than outcome — which will reduce your stress and anxiety 10 folds. It also opens the gateway to deeper creativity and problem solving. And mostly, it is a constant reminder that life is happening now, in this moment, so stay here…in this moment.

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

  1. Courage is key…not perfection. Keep going and surround yourself with people who value courage.
  2. If you’re questioning your purpose and passion, follow your curiosities (like bread crumbs), you won’t find purpose and passion, but those bread crumbs will help you create it.
  3. And finally, when you’re stuck (in life or leadership) ask, “what would this look like if it were fueled by love, had more ease, and was — dare I say it — fun!?”

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

I LOVE books, films, and podcasts, so I could go on and on here.

Let’s see, I’ll just go with what arises…

One of my favorite movies is, Collateral Beauty with Will Smith (one of his Drama films). The message is profound. It follows a man (played by will smith) whose young daughter died. He becomes clinically depressed, his life is slowly falling apart, and he questions everything. He ends up writing three letters, to love, time, and death. Friends find them and hire actors to respond (in person), answering those letters. It’s an amazing story. Absolutely amazing.

Currently I am loving the podcast, Unlocking Us by Brene Brown.

And my all time favorite book (I call it my bible) is Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed.

All three address humanity from the most tender and honest place.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

Well, I have a few quotes tattooed on my body.

One is about courage, by Marianne Williamson, and the power it has to uplift others. “As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I also have part of a T.S. Elliot poem, “we shall not cease from exploration” (it speaks to the hero/heroines journey — the call of curiosity and following it to bring back wisdom and hope for others).

And I have a quote from my Capoeira Mestre (I trained a Brazilian martial art for 7 years). It’s in Portuguese on my body, it translates in English to say, “Nothing without good roots, grow to give good fruits.” (for me this speaks to excellence in learning and being — seeking beyond intelligence and into the depths of wisdom).

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I’m working on a few wonderful projects!

I have a membership called RITUAL: remembering ourselves as holy, whole, and wise. We meet livestream 2x’s per month on or around the new and full moon each month for embodiment practices. I created a mind/body/soul recharge practice called Dynamic Release Method and we do that practice along with a release writing ritual around the new moon. Then for the full moon I guide everyone in a somatic breathwork healing experience. Both are extremely powerful and healing.

I am also working on a poetry book that’s being written through tiny stream of consciousness rituals each week. This body of work is about discovering healing and wholeness in the fractures and questions of our life. It’s a deep breath, a perspective shift, and a tiny ritual you can engage with everyday to remember yourself.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. Can you briefly tell our readers a bit about why you are an authority about Emotional Intelligence?

I’ve been studying human behavior and mindfulness for more than a decade, along with working with people 1-on-1 and in groups to create a better relationship with their inner world, so they can create a better relationship to their other world.

For the benefit of our readers, can you help to define what Emotional Intelligence is?

Emotional Intelligence is about self-inquiry. It’s our ability to respond to life circumstances, rather than react. It’s building the muscle of presence so you can see the space that exists between stimulus and response. It is also our ability to have empathy, compassion, discernment (not judgement), and the willingness to be with challenge and change.

How is Emotional Intelligence different from what we normally refer to as intelligence?

I think of intelligence as the kind of knowing that comes from books, schools, and lessons learned from facts, science, charts, and other people’s experiences and stories.

Emotional intelligence is a knowing from deep within. It takes us being able to separate our Self from our emotions and opinions, while still fully feeling and discerning, so we can truly see for ourselves and respond from a place wisdom.

Can you help explain a few reasons why Emotional Intelligence is such an important characteristic? Can you share a story or give some examples?

It’s not just important, it’s essential for healthy, fulfilling relationships to exist.

I’ve been engaging in an emotional intelligence practice with my partner and it is quite frankly a game changer in the way we relate with each other. We do this about once a month, it’s called ‘fear/desire/love.’ We sit across from each other and set a timer for 2-minutes (for each person). One of us shares first, opening up about our fears in our life and/or relationship at the time. Then the other person goes. Next, we go onto our desires (again it can be in general and/or about our relationship). Finally we end with each sharing what we love about the other person. Every round we each have 2-minutes to share, no talking over each other and no judgment.

After this practice, we see each other in a more clear and honest way. We can talk about things without assumptions and the mind trap of ‘mind reading.’ Emotional Intelligence gives us the capacity to be with others in a more true and beautiful way. It helps us remove the armor that is keeping us from our common humanity.

Would you feel comfortable sharing a story or anecdote about how Emotional Intelligence has helped you in your life? We would love to hear about it.

Forgiveness. That is probably the biggest gift it has given me…the ability to forgive, which is a powerful release of energy and deep healing. Forgiveness doesn’t mean those people will be in our life the way we want (or at all), it just means we have let go of the poison of blame and emotionally re-living a part of our past trauma over and over again.

Can you share some specific examples of how Emotional Intelligence can help a person become more successful in the business world?

Oh sure! Working on our Emotional Intelligence enhances our intuition and our ability to discern in difficult decision making moments. It teaches us to listen deeper to ourself and others and often gives us the upper hand when it comes to influence. When I coach people in business, what I’m doing mostly is teaching them how to use their emotional intelligence. From developing this, my clients have left unfulfilling jobs to go on and create the life they really wanted, to taking their business from a place of ‘shoulds’ and stress to a work of art. I never told them ‘how’ to do it, I simply guided them back to themselves again and again.

Can you share a few examples of how Emotional Intelligence can help people have better relationships?

Developing EI through mindfulness and embodiment practices are key. You will see yourself growing, from the inside out, and you will begin to see life events and circumstances in a new way. This changes how you show up in the world. You become less reactive and more compassionate. You begin to love yourself more and thus, you’re better able to attract into your life people who really see you and love you in a healthy way.

Can you share a few examples of how Emotional Intelligence can help people have more optimal mental health?

When we’re less reactive and more responsive in life, we tend to have less stress and anxiety in our life as well. We also tend to not make circumstances ‘mean’ anything about who we are at our core. This gives us a better sense of Self and therefore a more natural confidence flows from us.

Ok. Wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. Can you recommend five things that anyone can do to develop a greater degree of Emotional Intelligence? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Mindfulness practices. Begin by learning about the 7 mind traps that cause people to get in mental ruts and become reactive. I do a short video on this HERE (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLbGAMc-MXo&t=1s) or you can get the book called, A Mindfulness Based Stress reduction Workbook.
  2. Embodiment practices. Practices such as yoga, qi gong, self-myofascial release, breathwork, dancing, shaking, etc. are powerful to get us in out bodies from the neck down. They grounded and center us and help us quiet the monkey mind that often keeps us from accessing our emotional intelligence.
  3. Listen to podcasts and read books that speak to this subject. Open your mind first, and then your heart will follow. Some beautiful books on mindfulness and developing EI (besides the one I mentioned above) are Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn and books by Pema Chödrön, such as When Things Fall Apart and Start Where You Are
  4. Spend time in nature. There is so much wisdom there. Go for a walk, just for the sake of going for a walk, camp, engaged outdoor sports, etc.
  5. Get support. Whether this is with a therapist, mentor, teacher, coach, or trusted friend. Being heard has so much value and and possibility for self-discovery and deep reflection.

Do you think our educational system can do a better job at cultivating Emotional Intelligence? What specific recommendations would you make for schools to help students cultivate Emotional Intelligence?

Absolutely! First, teaching young people about the 7 mind traps would be a start. And having weekly meetings where talking about feelings and emotions is not seen as weird, but rather as courageous and strong. As well, engaging in mindful embodiment practices regularly to reduce stress and teach one how to be in their bodies in a healthy way.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

For the longest time I’ve had this idea of a project called, The Peace In, Peace Out Project. I see it as a movement of people doing the deep inner work (peace in), so that they can do the powerful change among outer work (peace out). It’s mindfulness and leadership weaved together. What I wish for the world is that we can all access the inner peace we long for and truly bring our full self to the world.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

I’ve always said if I could have lunch with one person of influence it would be Albert Einstein. As far as a living person goes, I’d love to meet the Dalai Lama and/or Cheryl Strayed. The Dalai Lama fills me with love every time I see his face or read his words. He is the embodiment of levity and wisdom. And well, like I said above, I call one of Cheryl Strayed’s book my bible…so she just might be the human embodiment of God. Seriously though, I’ve never been so enraptured by words and taken to the depths of my humanity by a piece of writing more than with that book. Plus I think we’d have a blast together.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

The three best place are:

Website: www.ambercampion.com

Instagram: @ambercampion

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/ambercampion

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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