Bernadette JonsonOne of my favorite books is “God Winks,” by Squire Rushnell.  The author talks about the amazing coincidences in life and theorizes why they exist. He tells of coincidences with both ordinary and famous people including Barbra Streisand, Charles Schulz, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Twain, and Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

The last few years I’ve paid attention to the (God Winks) that happen in my life. For instance, two years ago I thought I was calling my friend Bernadette Friedric to set up lunch.  Instead I called Bernadette Johnson, whom I had never met before.  I have no idea how her telephone number was in my contact list because it wasn’t there after the call.  I spoke to Bernadette Johnson as if I was talking to Bernadette Friedric.  They even sound alike on the phone.  However, I quickly realized I wasn’t talking to the person I thought I was calling.  We both laughed and said something to the effect “it was meant to be.”   I wrote it off as being blond (No comments here!)

That strange call took place two years ago.  Two months ago I met Bernadette Johnson in person and immediately felt there was a connection between the two of us.  It took me awhile to remember the phone conversation we had years prior but as soon as I brought it up Bernadette remembered as well.

Last week we sat down to lunch and again I immediately felt a strong connection, so I asked to profile her in my blog.  After reading her responses I understand why Bernadette Johnson is a mentor.

Who/what inspires you?

I am inspired by people choosing to make a difference without the fanfare.  I am inspired by the simplicity and perfection of nature.  I am inspired when I work with leaders and they discover the humanity through the deeper connection made with perceived adversaries amid the organizational chaos…the environment in which many of us work ( ).  I am inspired by the laughter of my grandson and the sense of presence he has as he plays.  I am inspired by my own discoveries that were there all along…as I wonder what else I haven’t noticed.

Do you have a slogan, motto or mantra?

I have a one-word mantra that becomes my intention for each year. This year the word is ‘manifest’.  I ‘planted’ a lot of things in the last year, researched topics, read quite a few books…as well as getting crystal clear about who I am,  the customers I want to serve and how I want to make a contribution in the world. So each morning after I meditate, I sit with the word ‘manifest’. Since January, it’s been amazing how things have been manifesting in the direction of my line of thought from last year.  My job…my intention… is to stay open to them, allow it and to just ‘be’ with it all in grace

Do you have a lesson or thought to share?

There is a quote by Heraclitus that says: “No man ever steps into the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man.”  It’s a reminder that life is always changing and so are we.  Change is neither good nor bad, but what we think about it.  So it’s figuring out how we can make peace and just BE in that space and then move forward.

How do you deal with stress?

Stress is all around us…we are so over-stimulated.  I feel we have to stay conscious of the people…the things…the energy we allow in our environment.  My inner circle are people who have a very positive energy and I try to stay diligent about the ‘stimuli’ I allow in my environment. When I am stressed…which isn’t very often, I tend to stop whatever I’m doing and get centered.  For me, that is meditation, which includes my meditation playlist…it’s very soothing and allows me to center. Through this practice, I am reminded I have all I need and I am enough.

As a cancer survivor and having family and friends who are also survivors, there’s an acute understanding of our mortality and a deep gratitude to continue to make a difference by showing up different.  If I get really stressed, I remind myself that I am trading my time on earth for this stress point…is it really worth it.  The answer is always the same…no way.  This opens me up to other possibilities that alleviate the stressor and I have a clearer understanding of the circumstance.  This gift of experience has offered me a broader and more relevant perspective of my life.

Anything you want to share?

I have a friend who is transitioning and I am once again reminded to live life fully, love generously and laugh often.  It reminds me to be present, to stay curious, to have more questions than answers, to with grace, make space for people to be who they are and to love them where they are while supporting their paths to their highest selves.  Love IS the answer.

I will be featuring my book, Waves of Influence ( on a panel of local authors as well as speaking and book signing on Wednesday, March 12 at Schuler’s Books in Eastwood Towne Center in Lansing.



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