Walking in Awareness

by Yvonne Johansen

Me and my mom Rita during our younger years and again in 2018

On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy battered the East Coast with record-setting flooding and devastating winds.  My 90-year-old mother was left without power. Scared and alone in her apartment on Long Island she contacted me in California.  Miraculously, her phone still worked.  Not knowing how to help her or what to do, my husband suggested calling the Red Cross.  And we did.  An angel answered the phone, her name, Patty Furino.  

That phone call changed my life forever.  Not only did Patty help get my mom scheduled deliveries for food in the weeks to follow, but she also helped me problem-solve by finding her a warm place to stay until her power was restored. 

To say that Patty has been an instrumental part of my life over the last nine years would be an understatement.  She has been a HUGE part of my spiritual wellness.  Patty has empowered me to understand that I am connected to something greater than myself. We have had quite a few “marathon conversations” over the last nine years and I think it’s accurate to say,  over time my thinking shifted… and once it all changed, there was no going back to before.

WALKING IN AWARENESS, finding meaning and purpose in my life, has opened doors I don’t think would ever have opened.  I have developed the power and capacity to make critical decisions and choices that have grounded me during periods of change. I have also  developed resiliency and learned to thrive with grace and inner peace in the face of adversity.  Having a spiritual element in my life has helped heal suffering from past experiences.  The power is extraordinary.  

The power of a shift in thinking occurs when something so revolutionary happens in your life that you have no choice but to reorganize your thoughts and reinterpret your experiences through this new lens. After meeting Pat, my life was divided into before and after.   Try as you may, there’s no going back to the way things were before.  I experienced an earthquake of the mind—a massive and momentous transformation of perspective that completely shook, jolted and changed how I approach the world. And all I can say is it’s pretty wonderful.

Some people spend a lifetime in pursuit of their purpose. That’s a shame. 

I believe we are meant to do one thing with our life, and that is to awaken to the fire within which is the fuel of all life. In other words, do what makes your heart smile.

Patty & Dave’s book, When The Psychology Professor Met The Minister, is packed to the brim with existential truth and the kind of perspective and wisdom that will give rise to The Shift within you. The book will completely change your life and the way you look at it. It’s a reminder that life is what WE choose to make it. Second chances are real because you have the power to change your life’s direction no matter where you currently are.  In Pat’s words EVERYONE HAS THE POWER…. even a housewife from Long Island.  

About The Author

Yvonne Johansen, MS, CCC-SLP is the Lead speech-language pathologist at Citizens of the World Charter School in Hollywood, CA.  She has over 30 years of experience as a clinical supervisor and Founder of Children’s Therapeutic Center,  providing home based early intervention services through Regional Center & Early Head Start programs. Since the beginning of her career,   Yvonne has enjoyed helping children with speech and language disorders,  providing support and training to families and caregivers.  Yvonne has experience working with a variety of populations within various settings in both New York and California.

Her passion for helping children coupled with her creativity, serves as the foundation for her educational toy company, SmartFelt Toys.

SmartFelt Toys makes award-winning, multi-sensory interactive playsets that build early language skills in young children.  Beginning with My Little House and now with My Little Farm, My Little Zoo, and My Little Farm Bingo, these uniquely designed, classic toys provide children with the groundwork when building their receptive and expressive language skills.

Yvonne measures her success in how she can make a difference in the lives of children. SmartFelt Toys is an extension of that.  Her dream is to one day manufacture SmartFelt in the United States, hiring a diverse workforce, empowering individuals with special needs in achieving their independence.

Yvonne was born and raised in New York.  She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Speech Pathology/Audiology at Marymount  Manhattan College.  Yvonne also holds a Master of Science Degree in Speech Pathology from Teachers College, Columbia University, NYC.

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