The Softer Side of Strong

There is a softer side of strong that is unbreakable. Madeline Johnson

When I was young and silly I thought that being strong was about being mighty, powerful, outspoken and relentless. Ungovernable.

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I thought being strong was about being in control. Standing firm and determined, demanding, forceful and willful.

Ridiculous.

 

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I have uncovered a softer side of strong that is unbreakable.

This style of strong is still, calm, clear and confidant.

Solid.

Collected and rooted deep in love. Yet freely open in spirit. A soaring type of strong.

Both solid and fluid.

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Recommended reading

Keeping Your Thoughts Strong As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

Keeping Your Faith Strong  Sermon on the Mount by Emmet Fox

Disciplined & Strong Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink

Featured Artist

Nancy Friedland, Gallery on Instagram

Your Soul Retrieval

One must wander, wonder and get lost in life and in newness. Anything actually that whispers an ounce of inspiration to you. Madeline Johnson

Some Shamans practice what is called a soul excavation. This is a healing ceremony and an act of rescuing someone’s soul, a reviving of that part that can be lost after experiencing difficulty or trauma or a period of soul sucking work. It could be a doomed relationship, a failed venture, a broken partnership or a depressingly cold winter season of  life. Regardless of how one lost their mojo for living, they haven’t lost it forever and it is their responsibility to heal.

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None of us have time for things that are soulless.  We want to feel inspired and charged with energy and love.

I believe we all have the natural ability to practice a soul retrieval each day. It takes persistence and can at times be exhausting, but it can be done. It starts with stillness and a search. A relentless quest for that breath of life that gives you wings and helps you soar.

Reviving your soul involves play, curiosity, exploration and continuous effort. Being fully persistent and curious about what turns you on, what awakens your spirit once more.

Many recommend that you think about what made you come alive as a child, but I argue, we aren’t children any more. Sure we might be emotionally, but not physically.  New passions will activate our soul now and will make us come alive again with a spark of joy.

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One must wander, wonder and get lost in life and in newness. New places, people and spaces. Sometimes in new creative acts. Acts of creation like dance, music, painting, singing – anything actually that whispers an ounce of inspiration to you.

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Featured Artist

Robert Steven Connett @rsconnett on Instagram

 

Letting Others In

If you met me in person you would see that I come across as independent, contained, confident, and un-needy. Avoiding emotional engagement in relationships is my speciality. I give love out, but I can’t take it in.

In addition to fearing rejection, I  keep distant because  I don’t trust that any connection or acceptance will last. I am ambivalent about relationships—some part of me wants connection, but I am also frightened—I succumb to fear and pull away at the first sign of a disconnect, an argument, a fight.

I’m the emotionally stoic mother, wife, sister, and friend and I am rarely able to share my vulnerability.  Nobody knows my true inner feelings about why I push love away, not even myself.  I like to be the giver in a relationship. That way I never owe anyone anything. I feel like running the other way whenever anyone tries to make me feel like I’m obligated to do or feel something I don’t want to.

This is about to change.

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Featured Artist

Joanne

Our Duty to Contribute Some Peace To This World

Our duty is to contribute joy to the world. Madeline Johnson

The pain throwers. You all know these people. Their past didn’t live up to their expectations. Someone is always mistreating them right now. They may feel as if life is unjust, unfair and disturbing. They live their pain out loud. They blame, they shame and complain and oh God are they are bore.

The Pain Thrower Story

They bitch and they moan about the very people, their friends and their family perhaps, those that they thought they could trust with their heart and soul, those who have betrayed them.  They visit their therapist. Spending time revisiting their past.  That is, the past as they remember it. They remain stuck in the past with some story they had to “overcome”. Living a very unhappy existence.

A note about distorted memories.

Science has demonstrated that sometimes we actually build memories around our misery. We crave a cohesive narrative of our own existence and will even invent stories to give us a more complete picture.

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Carrying around false memories from your childhood could be having a far greater impact on you than you may realize. The events, emotions and experiences we remember from our early years will help to shape who we are as adults, determining our likes, dislikes, fears and even our behavior.

Memories can’t be trusted. Memories are malleable and tend to change slightly each time we revisit them, in the same way that spoken stories do.

Instead of living in the past, trying to pull apart what happened to you while fabricating stories of rage and abuse, perhaps you should choose to start living right here, right now.

Imagine choosing happiness right now over yearning for more of it in the future.

Imagine watching over all of our thoughts . Every single one.  The only question to be asked is. . .

Are your thoughts adding to peace in this world?

Don’t steal the joy. To make others less happy is a crime.

To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts.

Our duty is to contribute joy to the world.

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Featured Artist

Cathy Bueti on Instagram

 

Inspired By Every Version of You

The practice of putting down the score card of assessment and focusing on loving our selves as we are – in constant transformation. By Madeline Johnson

Your true essence is unchangeable but you can choose a different identity at any time.  Your identity is who you see yourself to be; as you express this identity, it becomes the ‘package’ by which others identify you.

If you’re no longer inspired by the way you see yourself and others see you, you can adopt a new identity by changing your beliefs, choosing to accentuate other personality traits, emphasizing different values, or adding a new flavor to your self-expression. 

Our beliefs and values can change overtime, and what used to define you strongly may no longer be an authentic part of you.

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Our bodies know this instinctively. Our bodies are in a state of constant transformation and renewal. On average, our small intestine and stomach cells turnover every 3 days. Our bones renew their osteoclasts every two weeks. Our skin sheds every 10 – 30 days, depending on our age.

Up until very recently, it was believed that our heart cells could not regenerate.

Each morning, we awake a slightly new and fresh version of ourselves.

Yet we continue to judge ourselves. We are especially good at judging our old selves. We practice self-judgement every time we compare who we are with who we should be.

Yet, every day we are given the opportunity to be someone new.

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The practice of putting down the score card of assessment and focusing on loving our selves as we are – in constant transformation – is the perfect anecdote.

Featured Artist

Instagram @strangecomplexbeauty

 

How To Face Your Day

Gently mold and shape your conditions to fit your current needs while using the tools that God has given us. The tools of free will, reasoning and intuition.

There are a multitude of ways that you can show up for your life each day.

You can resign to your life and continue to adapt to your current conditions, no matter how unsuitable they may be. You can move through your day with resignation. You have a choice you know,  you can show up as the victim, if that is what you want to be.

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Or you can be fierce and fiery and self-righteous as you attempt to muscle your way through your day. As you make big attempts to control every aspect of your life; white knuckling your way through the day with worry and fear.

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Or you can gently mold and shape your conditions to fit your current needs while using the tools that God has given us. The tools of free will, reasoning and intuition.  You can do this by remaining calm and empty of your ego and co-creating with the spirit of God in your heart.

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Featured Art

@eugeseveso

 

To Be Apologetically, Unapologetically Me

This post is a study on how to remain true to yourself while repairing some of your faulty framework. Madeline John

This post is a study on how to remain true to yourself while repairing some of your faulty framework. It’s about keeping the essence that is you, but knowing the parts of you that could use a bit of improvement. It’s about being apologetically, unapologetically you. It comes with being more self-aware and looking for clues from how others react to you.

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Those that know me know that I’m hard to hold back. I have a positive, enterprising, forcible way about me.  I do not enjoy wallowing or waiting.  If I see a change that needs to be made, a problem that should be solved, I persevere until it’s done, corrected, repaired. Those that love me appreciate this about me. I too, also value my tenacious approach.  The challenge is, while at times I may be an unapologetic  force to be reckoned with, I also have a tendency to leap before I look while stumbling to the finish line and bull dozing through any so-called obstacle that’s in my way.  Yes, I muscle my way through life, and while it’s unapologetically me, it can be extremely exasperating, vexing and displeasing. I therefore apologize and look for ways to be more graceful and thoughtful in my approach and tone.

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Featured Artist

@tmgallows on Instagram

 

Limbo

I remember not to fear or worry or doubt myself for that is the ultimate sin against life. Imagine a Dove doubting its ability to fly? Madeline Johnson

There is so much advice out there about taking an honest look at yourself. You must be courageous enough to face your bloodiest wounds to change. So many experts telling us to be brave and bold enough to recognize our faults.  Advising us to replace negative thinking and habits with better ones.

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At one point in time, in what still feels like the recent past, I was addicted to the feeling of being anxious and angry.  It actually felt very powerful and energizing to feel this way.   Now, as I begin to deliberately focus on letting go of that anger,  I notice that I am no longer feeling righteous and in charge, it can feel really uncomfortable.

You see, anger was once my anchor and complaining my crutch. Both made me feel superior because nothing was good enough for me. I had “higher” standards than most. These emotions also helped me feel less vulnerable and small.  If I remained angry, no one could touch me. They would fear me. This is what I thoughtlessly thought was powerful.

Now, the more I meditate, the more I pray, the more I remain mindful in the moment, the more peaceful I feel.  To be completely honest, feeling peaceful and calm feels strange. It’s actually a bit uncomfortable. I can actually witness my mind wanting to grasp onto what’s wrong with everything and I literally have a battle with my brain to correct my thoughts.

I am in transition and in between the two worlds of ego and serene essence.

Changing my consciousness and altering the way I think about everything, requires fierce discipline. It is as if I am constantly keeping a watchful eye on my thoughts throughout the day.  I weed out those thoughts that just don’t work.

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My logical mind knows that my old way of thinking was lazy, sloppy and useless. It was also very, very defensive and protective. I had built a fortress in the name of self-preservation. But what was I preserving? A shell of myself.

My old consciousness was me against the world, and frankly this way of perceiving people no longer serves me. It actually enslaved me into an endless loop of struggle. I was cynical, skeptical and scanning for threats. I was looking for the bad in others.

Now, as I realize that letting go and forgiving is so freeing, I feel a sense of peace and serenity that feels like floating through life. There is nothing to control. Yet, sometimes this floating feels very frightening, because I am floating in a sea of unknown.  I vacillate still between want to control and wanting to let go.

I sometimes no longer fear the future or think about what might happen next. I am practicing surrendering my control to a higher power of intelligence, to my view of God, to the universe and the divine and it is equal parts glorious, gratifying and frightening as hell.

To be a spiritual warrior is to go to war with the worry.

I remind myself to remember not to fear or worry or doubt myself for that is the ultimate sin against life.

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Imagine a Dove, a Seagull or a Blue Jay doubting their ability to fly?

Featured Artist

Porcelain Bee on Instagram

Rising Up To Your Highest

Today is the ideal day to let go of what you think is protecting you and create a life that supports you. Madeline Johnson

I find that the quiet early mornings before the sun rises and anyone has awoken, I hold a moment to myself to examine my consciousness. This gift of time presents a wonderful opportunity for me to rise up. An opportunity to let go of any fear of the future and anxiety about my abilities or abandoning myself.

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The rituals, the exercises, the journaling, the meditation, the prayer, the gratitude serves a single purpose and that is to elevate my thoughts so I can rise up and shine brighter today.

Today I must let go of what I think is protecting me and create a life that supports me.

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Gerald G. Jampolsky, MD, is an internationally recognized authority in the fields of psychiatry, health, business, and education. He has published extensively, including classic bestsellers “Forgiveness”, “Teach Only Love”, and “Love is Letting Go of Fear”.

Featured Artist

Victor Whitmill

A note from the artist. Questions are generally more interesting than answers. So…I paint to raise questions. The answers aren’t the point. Being entertained by not knowing is. Depth comes from wonder. My work isn’t deep. However, viewing it might be. 

 

 

What Love Requires

It is the act of loving that love requires. Love needs nurturing. Love needs attention. Love needs care. Love demands appreciation and respect. Love requires giving. Sometimes giving more than you take.  Without the execution of loving acts, love dies.

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“Love is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go. How can I judge that it will stay forever, when my act does not involve judgment and decision.”  ―Erich Fromm

 

Featured Artist

Paulina Galka from Poland on Instagram