It’s All For You

Here’s a way to get through the hard times. Imagine if everything is happening for you. Madeline Johnson

Here’s a way to get through the hard times. Imagine if everything is happening for you. Even the suckiest parts of life. That crazy client you just can’t make happy? Teaching you patience and understanding. The partner that just won’t commit? Raising your standards about what you will and won’t tolerate. The unorganized boss who does everything half-assed? Demonstrating ways to avoid disaster. Fair-weather friends? What true compassion and understanding means to you.

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Everything in your life is leading you to a better tomorrow. While it might not feel great in the midst of moment, you have faith that if you learn from the hard times you will grow stronger and better into tomorrow.

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Featured Art

@cult.class

Silent, Still & Open

I am removing what I thought was protecting my heart from being broken one more time. So the love can flow through.  Madeline Johnson

Psychological resistance is like an invisible wall that stands between who we are and who we want to become.

I want to be open to receiving more love.

We resist because we fear. We construct our own invisible walls of impossibility. We do this in all aspects of our lives, but the wall that can be the biggest barrier to our growth is the one we put between us and our relationships.

We need each other to survive.

Whatever you call the wall,  the emotional armor, the fence and property line that separate our thoughts and feelings from those of other people. Sometimes these boundaries keep us locked in, stunted and unable to grow.

I’m taking down my wall, brick by brick.  It starts with me.

No more interrupting what others have to say or predicting what might happen. No looking for fault lines in their character, or scanning for clues for what might hurt me in the future.

No scanning for threats and no rushing to move things along.

Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I let go of unmet expectations and realize that a bit of stress is another way of showing I care.

I am not going to even try to control the conversation and I will remember it’s not only my time, it’s your time. It’s this moment.

Opening to love.

I am removing what I thought was protecting my heart from being broken one more time. So the love can flow through.

I won’t interrupt. I will stop ending moments before they have had a chance to begin.

I remain curious, looking for signs of love. Clues along the way.

Expecting more love from all.

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Featured Artist

Maki Itanami 

 

Removing What Isn’t Love

At any given moment you can give up your old stories of what love is or isn’t and redefine the way you feel. By Madeline Johnson

What do I know about love? Never said. No, no. no. Dad demanded respect and mom was angry at dad.  With all that yelling and screaming, it felt as if love was too weak walk the halls of our home.  Love was too soft for stomping feet, midnight tears and hands that punched the sky.

It wasn’t mentioned, or even whispered, because it wasn’t important. Not when there was work to do, bills to pay and good grades to impress. There was struggle to be had.

Love might have been dad working to provide and mom cleaning house and making meals.

There was a movie. Love Story. It was about a man and a woman and the woman was dying of cancer. Love was sad.

Something you lose.

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The first time I felt something like love was when dad brought me home a puppy. The cutest puppy in the world. That felt like joy, comfort, happiness, until I realized that someday I wouldn’t have him anymore, because he’d die.

Because love is something you lose.

The second time I felt love was on Easter. Grandpa brought me a huge milk chocolate  bunny. It was almost a foot high and I sat on the floor near the bed, hiding and ate it all before dinner. I wanted that love safe, in my belly.

Because love is something that you might lose.

What did I learn about love?

Love was something that went missing. It went upstairs to the bedroom and it moaned and groaned from the pain.

Love was still in a casket. Death unexplained. I was too young to understand.

Love was painful. It hurt like hell.

And love was embarrassing. Thanks to you Bob.  Love was everyone knowing about the cum all over your winter coat.

Love was shameful.

Love was losing him to a girl with big breasts. Love was carving my initials in my wrist. Love still knew that I did exist.

Then love became an obsession. It was to be chased. Love became a distant feeling that I wanted to grasp and hold and cling to.

But it kept running from me.

Love broke my heart wide open.

Love was fragile, something I wasn’t worthy of.

Now, I remove all of what wasn’t love, to something much more defined by me.

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Tell me, what do you know about love?

 

Featured Artist

@city_scum

One Big Fat Lie and The Stark Naked Truth

Unravelling your self-deception begins with acknowledging how you are contributing to something you don’t like. By Madeline Johnson

It is estimated that the average person lies 10 to 200 times a day. Whether you consider yourself “average”, the fact is we lie all the time. We lie to ourselves and we lie to each other. Small lies, big lies, just to get where we need to go kind of lies.  This isn’t necessarily the big, blatant, in your face lying. It could be the sneaky “white” lying – what we consider to be harmless or trivial, and frequently said in order to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.

Lying to ourselves according to Dr. Courtney Warren, stems from not being psychologically strong enough to be honest with yourself. 

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We fool ourselves into believing things that are false,

and we refuse to believe things that are true. 

Listening to Courtney Warren’s Tedx talk “Honest liars — the psychology of self-deception” I was taken back, it struck a hard, deep cord,  but at the same time I felt inspired and relieved. It rang and rings so true. Frighteningly true.

So what’s the big deal about telling yourself you can have that third cookie because you worked out yesterday?

Lying to yourself keeps you stuck. Now I don’t know about you, but I want to grow.

The fact is, when you lie to yourself, you aren’t going to get anywhere, because you can’t change something you can’t admit.  Self-deception restricts you, limits you and steals your power.

How do you know you are lying to yourself and others?

You’re blaming others. “I wouldn’t have freaked out if he didn’t get me so mad.” You’re playing the victim. “I can’t believe she would do that to me.” You’re defending yourself.  You’re defending your ego, your deceived identity.

Read more on the 15 Common Defense Mechanisms.

Other ways you can tell when you are lying to yourself. Y ou have a strong emotional reaction or thought to someone or something. “I just can’t stand being around her.” “He just rubs me the wrong way.” Anytime you feel or think something in an extreme way is an opportunity to see how you might be deceiving yourself.

When your actions don’t match your commitments. Like, when you catch saying one thing and doing another. “One more glass of wine won’t break my diet.” “Sure, let’s have dinner next week.” “I’ll text you tomorrow.”

And of course when you overpromise. You go after things you’re not equipped to handle because you’ve over-exaggerated your abilities. You find yourself in situations where you can’t deliver what you said you would deliver. You tell yourself you can do anything. You’re not being honest about your skill set, personality or knowledge. Be honest about what you can and cannot do. What you can’t do today may be achievable in the future if you educate yourself. The key is to first acknowledge that you don’t know what you don’t know.

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So, why do we do this? We are susceptible to self-deception because we have emotional attachments to our beliefs.

Wear a mask long enough and it becomes your face.

Play a role long enough and it becomes who you are.

Spend enough time pretending something is true and

you might as well believe it to be so.

Read more How To Liberate Your Life From Self-Deception

Unravelling your self-deception begins with acknowledging how you are contributing to something you don’t like.

Featured Artist

@psychedgallery on Instagram

Unapologetically You

There is only one decision for you to make today. Do what is true and meaningful for you. By Madeline Johnson

To be unapologetically you – at your best –

gloriously flawed.

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It’s crazy how many people inspire others just by the way they live their lives. They don’t preach, they don’t coach, they just live their lives the way they see fit  – and through that act – they become an inspiration for others.

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There is only one decision for you to make today. Do what is true and meaningful for you. Time is running out. So get to it before you let someone else decide for you.

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Welcome this brand new day.

Use it as you will.

Waste it or fill it with goodness.

You have a choice.

Tomorrow it will be a memory.

Let it be a sweet one for all.

 

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Featured Artist

Stefano Bonazzi

 

Grace Full

And remember to learn, learn, learn. Open your mind to the wonders. By Madeline Johnson

Do what you please, follow your heart.

It is your life.

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Just be. Be natural, positive, grateful. Grace full.

Stay light if you can.

And remember to learn, learn, learn. Open your mind to the wonders.

In the words of Mary Oliver. . .

And that I did not give to anyone the responsibility of my life. It is mine. I made it. 

And can do what I want with it. Live it.

Give it back, someday, without bitterness,

to the wild and weedy dunes. 

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Read: Upstream by Mary Oliver, Selected Essays.

Featured Art

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on Instagram @hecatombedeesperanzas/

How to Know What’s True

Weed out the lies in your life, so that new truths may grow. By Madeline Johnson

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Pity our egos – lost and directionless with no access to reality.

Everything experienced through our hopes, dreams and aspirations – through our perception.

And anything that does not meet our expectations, is so difficult to accept.

This is because we wrestle with releasing our ignorance and expectations.

We become so identified with our illusions that we forget who we are and what is real.

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The truth is essential even when you don’t like what you hear.

Honor your life. Accept it as it is. Today, and right now.

Do this so that the honest and decent moments you are waiting for don’t pass you by.

Work with what you have.

Truth and acceptance make for a great foundation in reality – the ideal soil for new possibilities and  beginnings.

Weed out the lies in your life, so that new truths may grow.

Featured Artwork

Indg0

What Changes Everything

Before you try to mold or change anyone in your life again, take a look at yourself and work on your own. By Madeline Johnson

When you are no longer able to change a situation, you are challenged to change yourself. And that changes everything.  – Marc & Angel

It is better to pay attention to the harmony and disharmony within yourself and eliminate the impossible task of trying to control and shape others.

Before you try to mold, shape or change another person in your life again, take a look at yourself and work on that which needs adjustment in your own life.

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Stop trying to control that which you cannot. Focus on the things within yourself that you can change.

Controlling your own behavior . . .

  • Your present and future behavior,
  • How you respond to the behavior of others,
  • How you spend your time,
  • Who you spend time with, the friends you keep, your participation and behavior in relationships,
  • How you apply your talents and strengths.
  • The strengths you choose to acquire, develop, and apply.
  • Initiative, drive, commitment, tenacity, focus,
  • Who waits for whom,
  • The promises you keep, and the people you betray,
  • Your level of nutrition and fitness,
  • Habits, both good and bad
  • The choices you make,
  • Preparations and plans you make,
  • Impulse control,
  • Integrity, authenticity, congruence, reciprocity
  • The path you take,
  • Your behaviors that annoy others,
  • Where you live, where you work, where you play, your career,
  • The responsibility you take for yourself, and who you choose to blame,
  • When you appease, when you acquiesce, when obey, when you submit, when you rebel, when you protest, and when you blow the whistle.
  • Where you shop, how you spend, and how you save,
  • When and how you use your power.
  • Reappraise, apologize, forgive, let go, and take responsibility for yourself.
  • Deciding to do your best, or less than your best.

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What you communicate to others . . .

    • What you say, how you say it, who you say it to, and when you say it,
    • The authenticity of your expression,
  • Who you greet, and how you greet them,
  • Facial expressions, body language, gestures, posture,
  • Grooming, dress, and personal hygiene,
  • The attitude you project,
  • What you write, say, and share,
  • Who you include and who you exclude,
  • Your public image,
  • The topics you avoid, and those you engage, when you are patient, when you show impatience.
  • Authentic information or deceptive, manipulative, incomplete, or disingenuous disinformation.
  • The promises you make, when you say “Yes”, and when you say “No”.
  • Who you like, who you trust, who you dislike, who you distrust,
  • The symmetry of the power relationships, including: deference, respect, fawning, condescension, leadership, or disrespect.
  • Who you show respect to and who you are disrespectful of,
  • What you are willing to tolerate, and what you take a stand on,
  • Who you interrupt and who you allow to interrupt you.
  • The trust you extend and the trust you earn.

What you know . . .

  • Facts you have gathered,
  • Understanding,
  • The evidence you consider,
  • The theory of knowledge you use to choose your beliefs.
  • Expertise, skills, and how you apply your talents,
  • Literacy, logic, quantitative skills, domain knowledge,
  • What you study, read, listen to, and learn,
  • What you question and what you accept,
  • Your self-image, including your understanding of your authentic self.

How you think . . .

  • Your values and goals.
  • What you believe,
    • stereotypes,
    • religious beliefs,
    • loyalty
  • The assumptions you make, the questions you ask,
  • Who you trust,
  • The points of view you adopt,
  • What you value, how you evaluate information, the priorities you set, what you want.
  • The focus of your attention, what you regard as important and what you regard as unimportant, your priorities.
  • Your mood, attitude, and point of view,
  • Your explanatory style; optimistic or pessimistic,
  • The alternatives you generate and consider,
  • How you balance inquiry and advocacy,
  • Your level of innovation,
  • Your compassion, empathy, and understanding of others.
  • Your level of skepticism, and openness to new ideas
  • Interest, investigation, imagination, and curiosity,
  • How you choose friends and who you regard as friends,
  • Who you choose as enemies, and who you fear,
  • Your willingness or refusal to hate others,
  • Who you love and who you decide to hate.
  • How you learn,
  • Your level of emotional competency.
  • The integrated and introjected regulations you maintain and respond to.

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What you hope, dream, and aspire to:

  • Your goals,
  • Your hopes and aspirations,
  • Your role models.

This post was wildly inspired by Leland Beaumont

Inspired Reading  Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Getting Back to Happy by Marc & Angel

You can’t control everything that happens to you in this crazy world, but you can control your response to it. Marc and Angel provide a grace-filled guide to navigate life and find happiness regardless of your circumstance.”
—Joshua Becker, founder of Becoming Minimalist and author of The More of Less

Featured Artwork

Denis Sheckler