Amanda Votto is one of Copper Beech Institute’s Master Teachers, helping us facilitate our MBSR courses and retreats. Get a better sense of her passions and wisdom through this Get to Know You piece!
My favorite time of day is night time. I have always been a night owl. I have two young children and my days can be busy so at night when everyone is asleep (including my husband who is known for falling asleep while putting one of our kids to bed), I can lavish in some welcomed alone time. I love taking a bath and then meditating at night in my meditation space.
I started practicing mindfulness in 2005 when I was working in Boston and was introduced to it both in my medical practice and personally. I would practice here and there but did not fully commit until only a little over five years ago. I took the MBSR course at Yale (Anne Dutton was my teacher) and I have been practicing ever since. I have been on an intentional path of self-growth since 2013 and it has been quite a journey.
Three things I can’t live without are:
Self-care: This is essential to my ability to remain present. Self-care for me includes meditation, journaling, and spending time in nature.
Connection: To myself, others and my spiritual connection to a higher power.
Breath: Well, we literally can’t live without breathing but the breath to me is the bridge between the physical form and my soul. The breath continually brings me back to the present moment over and over throughout my day.
I teach mindfulness because it has helped me return to my true self and I am honored to help others (just like me, not too long ago) find their way home. I believe in the ability for each of us to heal from within and live the best version of ourselves in each moment.
These three things I never thought I would be doing:
Raising a family in Connecticut: I had always envisioned staying close to family and friends in the Boston area.
Taking a step back from my physician assistant profession after 15 years of practice to focus on teaching mindfulness.
Learning so much about sports (football, basketball and lacrosse in particular). My husband and son love all sports and I love watching my son play (and my husband coach).
I’m inspired by the vulnerability of others. It is amazing for me to witness the strength and courage of the human spirit.
My guilty pleasure is good food (especially pasta), good wine and watching the food network.
The best advice I ever got was: 1. You have to push your comfort zone in order to grow.
2. You must make friends with uncertainty.
The most important thing on my bucket lists are guiding my children to stay true to who they are, traveling to new places, and writing a book.
The last thing I do at night is lie down and feel my body settle into the bed. I find my breath and feel gratitude for my family, friends, safety, health, and my dedication to my inner truth.