Everything at Once

It’s not suppose to be easy, but all these expectations only make it harder.  Madeline Johnson

Sometimes I wake up excited about everything. Well to be honest, I am both excited and terrified. Excited about the opportunity the day brings and terrified that I won’t accomplish anything great in my life.

I’m excited to start the day and I’m ready take off and I am terrified that I will not have the time.

Juiced up, I find myself in a frenzy of desire to do this and do that.  Like a child, I am lit by the divine.  I just want to get everything started already. I want it all at once.

I am oozing with enthusiasm. My soul is on fire. I am determined to co-create with God.

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I begin with the desires. I’m going to find that new place to live, start writing that new book, I am going to learn this and learn that.  All at once.

All of the ideas come flooding into my brain and I am energized. I’m supercharged with an unrealistic belief that I must begin everything right now.

I believe I might be touched by delusion.

I am ready to go. Today’s the day.  All the beginnings will be made at once.

By midday I crash. I exhaust myself mentally. I am tired before I begin. I overwhelm myself with the thought of it all. It’s self sabotage really. It’s also immaturity.

I know better. I know that everything takes time. It’s not suppose to be easy, but all these expectations only make it harder.

Most importantly, I must enjoy the process.

I remember that I am in between.

Start again with small steps. One thing at a time, one moment at a time.

I take a deep breath and begin again.

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Featured Art

Bahri Genç @bahrignc

 

 

You Are Magic

We can produce quality art and work in small batches and make an astonishing impact on the world.  Madeline Johnson

I want to believe that it is my responsibility to dream and imagine beautiful and creative stories that morph into reality – stories that enhance our knowledge, expand our consciousness and lift our lives.

For a story doesn’t live until it is imagined in our minds.

Spend your time imagining. There is the magic of which we possess.

It is our imagination that fuels our thoughts and our thoughts become our dreams and our dreams become our destinations.

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To be of small but important significance daily.

I argue that we don’t have to strive to reach epic levels of creative recognition like Leonardo and Wolfgang Amadeus. We can produce quality art and work in small batches and make an astonishing impact on the world.

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 Featured Artist

@bal.zar on Instagram

The Balancing Act of Daily Living

It can’t be a go, go, go kind of day, everyday, all day.  One must leave some room for rest and relishing in the goodness. By Madeline Johnson

There is beauty in the act of staying open to life. Staying open to the organic experiences that aren’t on the calendar – that aren’t on the schedule.

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Saying yes to new opportunities is a wonderful idea. Saying yes to invitations, offers and experiences. Saying yes begins things. Saying yes is how things grow. Saying yes is a solution to staying relevant and valuable in today’s uncertain times.

Saying yes can also lead to dead ends, to new problems, to over commitment and letting others down.

But there is a problem to saying yes to too much. There is struggle between how much time one has, how much you can commit to and how much sanity you need in your life to stay balanced.

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The struggle between slowing and rushing, the pushing and plotting, the busyness of life and the feeling of being over committed and stuck on the wheel of progress and production. Too much work leaves one feeling depleted yet too little and you feel left out, unnecessary and irrelevant.

This is the fine balance of carving enough time out of each day to breathe and dive into the work – to produce a better quality of work.

It can’t be a go, go, go kind of day, everyday, all day.  One must leave some room for rest and relishing in the goodness. Some time self care and reflection.  It is in these small windows of time that one transforms. When you sit back at the end of the day and decide what worked and didn’t for you and then decide what you will say no to – tomorrow.

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Featured Artwork

Aykut Aydogdu was born in 1986, Ankara – Turkey. He started studying Fine Arts at high school and graduated from Faculty of Fine Arts – Graphic Design. He has various works on commercial illustrations, magazine covers, movie posters. His surreal figurative works are mainly concentrated on the dilemmas of the daily life.

Reinventing Your Life

The two things you need to know about reaching your goals. Where you are going and that you are going to get there. By Madeline Johnson

Some days you may feel like a ship lost at sea without a rudder. Directionless and powerless. Like a fish out of water, floundering.

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And some days it is perfectly fine to be lost, to wander, to float . . . . until you stumble upon that thing. . . . you have a breakthrough, and an idea,  and you discover that dream you really want to do.

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Then you just know.

You know where you are going and that you are going to get there.

 

Read that again: You know the WHERE you want to be and without a doubt that you WILL GET THERE. Just like when you drive to the store at night to get ice cream. You know the flavor you want and you know how delicious it will taste. You even have a plan for your second favorite . . .just in case.

You don’t need to worry about the how. There is no need to know how you are going to get there. That is nonsense. That doesn’t matter as much, because you know there are many roads you can take to where you are going. Some more bumpy and uncomfortable than others. There may even be mountains you need to climb along the way. Some days there will be detours, other days short cuts.

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The secret to success . . .

You know where you are going and that you are going to get there.

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Featured Artist

David Zinn is a street artist specializing in small-scale, improvised and (mostly) light-hearted chalk art.

Be Still Where You Are

Go slow and savor your life by Madeline Johnson.

It’s better to be slow and cautious in the right direction than to be swift and careless on the wrong path.  Savor the Moment. This one right now.

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This savoring (of life)… it’s a magical act.

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Ask Leo Babauta

Quote

“Sometimes I think there are only two instructions we need to follow to develop and deepen our spiritual life: slow down and let go.” 

Future Read

the dance

Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Dance: Moving To the Rhythms of Your True Self 

More Featured art

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Louise Bourgeois

Untitled Date:(1943)Medium:Ink on colored paperDimensions:8 7/8 x 11 1/2″ (22.5 x 29.2 cm)Credit Line:Gift of the artistMoMA Number:174.1995Copyright:© 2013 Louise Bourgeois Trust/Licensed by VAGA, NY

Running Down A Dream

Between you and me, I feel your frustrations. It’s a new year and you are on to new things. Secretly, you may not actually tell anyone but you might have promised/sworn to yourself that this is THE year (finally dammit) that you are going to start doing that thing or maybe the things you’ve always wanted to do. The big things. The important things.

Begin writing that blog, outlining the book, building that business, start your volunteering project, working on your tree house, planning that vacation, etc.  Yes, you have told yourself you are going to start working on the dreams you’ve had for quite some time that keep getting placed on the back burner while you are taking care of everyone and everything else. You’re not actually sharing it with anyone because you know there is a strong probability that you won’t get around to beginning, that your secret “resolutions” will be broken before you even have a chance to start.

You already know that this New Year New You thing is all a bunch of hype created by marketers who want to sell you detox juice cleanses and gym memberships. Today’s post is about turning your New Year’s Resolutions into a daily practice of self reflection and ongoing development. Yes, we all probably need a spark of something like ambition and self-motivation to begin building our dreams, the actual transformation happens with small steps taken each day and with a disciplined commitment to continuous iteration.

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 You can’t do it all today, but you can start.

I know this because I have had the same issues. I am too busy. I have to make money, pay the bills, cook the food, maintain the house and I have many different people in my life that depend on me for guidance, support and love.

I’m just spread so thin.

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So, like any day of the year, you start out with a list of things that need to get done today. It might be a mental list, or if you are like me, you might have written or typed your list somewhere.  The thing is, if you want to truly start working on some of those dreams, all of that stuff that you are checking off your list must be prioritized or it will be 3:00 in the afternoon before you know it and you will be kicking yourself for not having started anything that really matters most to you.

What’s Important Vs. Urgent

Knowing the difference between what is urgent and what is important in your life is the ticket to winning the day. So much seems “urgent”, but you must identify what is most important and do what is important first. For me, it is getting out a post a day here, so I got up early and made it the thing I had to do. The most important. Sure it has taken three times as long to write it, but I will make more improvements tomorrow.

So many things in life can feel urgent, but they are not. Up close, things feel so much bigger. Checking emails, answering texts, posting on social media all seem urgent and important, but they usually are not. Not to that future thing you are trying to build.

Try today to understand what you need to do to begin that dream and do those things first.

Make your to do list and type an “I” for important next to the things you need to do today to get you closer to where you need to be and a “U” next to those urgent things that you will get done after you’ve done the most important. 

Seems so simple right? Just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Don’t Let Your Ambition Overwhelm You

Ambition is the fire, the desire, but when it takes over it can consume you and your time. If you struggle with living a life of overwhelming busyness that you know you can’t sustain, I urger you to stop what you are doing and listen to Rob Bell’s “What to do with your ambition podcast” right now.

Ambition has a place in your life, but it shouldn’t drive you crazy with busyness. Left unbridled, it will.

How do you know if your ambition has got the best of you? Rob explains it as a haunting exhaustion. You are pushing too hard and you don’t know why. It’s when you have over committed and you say yes to everything – and you don’t remember why you did.

Speaking of curbing that overwhelming feeling, it is also important to stay hyper-realistic about what you can do vs what you wish you could do right now. Of course you are not going to write the whole book today, but what is one step you can take to get closer to beginning? You may start out with great intentions, but those long lists of everything that must get done in order to create your masterpiece – you know “the plan” can only be accomplished one task at a time.

Break Those Goals Down To Small Wins

“Too much ambition … can be a problem,” explains Tim Ferris. “not for the world, but for someone individually if it is manifested as a pure focus on self-achievement without any counter-balancing practice that allows you to appreciate [life].”

Collecting a Jar of Awesome

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Ambition must be counter balanced with appreciation. I am going to start today by creating my own jar of awesome. Once a day, I am going to jot down the good moments on my journey. I am going to stop for a moment to jot down something I’ve accomplished towards my goals and celebrate what makes me feel happy, grateful — the small wins.

Inspiration

Books

Stephen Pressfield’s The War of Art

The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline.

Tim Ferriss Tribe of Mentors

A compilation of tools, tactics, and habits from 130+ of the world’s top performers. From iconic entrepreneurs to elite athletes, from artists to billionaire investors, their short profiles can help you answer life’s most challenging questions, achieve extraordinary results, and transform your life.

Rob Bell

What to Do With Your Ambition

You are not here to settle. You are crammed full of greatness. Giving your life to something that means something to you.

How to Be here

How to Be Here lays out concrete steps you can use to define and follow your dreams, interweaving engaging stories, lessons from biblical figures, insights gleaned from Rob’s personal experience, and practical advice. Rob gives you the support and insight you need to silence your critics, move from idea to action, take the first step, find joy in the work, persevere through hard times, and surrender to the outcome.

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Featured Art 

Kate Macdowell, Sculpture

We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough.  We want something else which can hardly be put into words–to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. – C.S. Lewis.

Kate MacDowell’s hand-built porcelain sculptures respond to environmental threats and their consequences, revealing the rifts and frictions between man and nature. Based out of Portland, Oregon, her work has been shown throughout the US, Japan and Europe and at Scope Miami and New York, ArtAmsterdam, ArtHamptons, Art London, London Art Fair, Showoff Paris , Solo Project Basel, NEXT and Art Chicago fairs. She was recently an artist in residence at the Kohler Arts and Industry Program and will have work in group exhibits at JMKAC (Wisconsin), and MAD (NY) this year.